Centre Stage with Vanessa Comer

Meet the special people who make The Bear Pit the community venue it has become since it opened in 2008.

We join Bear Pit Associate Artist, Vanessa Comer, who shares with us her thoughts about our ‘little’ theatre company and discusses how she has spent her days during these challenging times.

Tell us about how you got involved with The Bear Pit Theatre.
I was introduced to the nascent Bear Pit Theatre by my friend and Bear Pit Artistic Director, David Mears, while we were both working with another Warwickshire group. I loved the whole idea of the The Bear Pit project and asked to be involved right away.

What have been some of your favourite Bear Pit shows?
I enjoyed ‘Dad’s Army’ and ‘Blackadder’, among many others, and I’m very fond of all the shows I have directed with The Bear Pit, as well –‘Noises Off’, ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’ to name but two.

Why is the Bear Pit important to you?
The Bear Pit avoids the pitfalls of the standard local am dram company; it is a relatively small group of like-minded and hard-working people without layers of committee, politics and favouritism. Long may that continue! By and large The Bear Pit offers a very friendly and satisfying experience to both the actors and the production teams. I have made some very good friends.

Why do you think The Bear Pit is important to the Stratford community?
I don’t live in Stratford but can see how the local audience just love the studio space, the friendly atmosphere and, most importantly, the high standard of the work produced.

Where are you spending lockdown, and who are you with?
I’m spending lockdown at home in Leamington with my husband.

How are you staying connected with the outside world?
In all the usual ways: walking with friends (one at a time!), Zoom meetings, WhatsApp…..

What are the upsides and downsides to being in lockdown?
The downsides all revolve around the missing of people: my grand-daughter, my family and dear friends. The upside is you can hang around in your pyjamas all day and don’t feel guilty about not achieving much. Life in the ‘normal’ world can be so stressful!

What help would you like to see being given to the arts?
Subsidies, obviously. Some special help with all the expense involved in making performance spaces Covid secure.

What lesson would you hope could be learned from the pandemic?
So many lessons to be learned! One thing we’ve recognized is that human beings need contact with others in order to remain sane and we shouldn’t forget it. Also, that we should never take any good thing in life for granted.

The Bear Pit Theatre is a registered charity and a voluntary organisation. If you would like to make charitable donation, it would be gratefully received. The easiest way to donate is via our JustGiving page.

The Bear Pit Theatre Limited is a not-for-profit company and a registered charity no: 1156259.