2. THEATRE OF DREAMS

Tuesday 14th April, 2020

34min 35seconds

 

Theatre and football might have more in common than most people think. For Jenna Omeltschenko, (Touring Partnership Manager at the National Theatre) there is a deep rooted passion for both. One was bequeathed by family; the other developed by passionate teachers and the chance to inspire others to share their experience, their story.  This is an episode with roots that stretch from Hungary, Ukraine, Irleand, and Manchester to the South Bank in London.

As with all episodes of the Humanish podcast, a whole transcript is available below.

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NATHAN

Eyup, I'm Nathan Human. Welcome to Humanish.

 

This episode: My conversation is with ….

 

JENNA

I am Jenna Omeltschenko and I am a Touring Partnership Manager for the National Theatre.

 

NATHAN

A few months ago we'd planned this episode so that I could go to the National Theatre and speak to Jenna there. A change in my schedule meant we had to postpone and we were going to be doing this around the first week of April and then...well, you know, the world changed. So instead, we moved to our back up plan...

 

SOUND OF SKYPE RING TONE

 

NATHAN

We did the now customary checking in on each other's health, particularly as Jenna had been self isolating and ill for over 2 weeks:

How are you?

JENNA

Yeah, getting there. I'm on day 17, 18 I think? I'm fairly sure I had it. It's a very nasty virus. People say it's like flu, it isn't like flu at all, it's nasty.

 

NATHAN

Once we'd established that Jenna was, you know, well enough for a chat, I asked how she was finding it during a lockdown working for an institution that is primarily known for it's building and physical space. You might have already seen that the National Theatre is now streaming shows on YouTube for free, they started with One Man and Two Guvnors and then Jane Eyre, and have also provided resources online for free for students and teachers. I've heard of plenty of people still having their theatre nights by dressing up at home, having a group chat with friends whilst they have a drink, and then all watching the live stream before “meeting up” again online to talk about it. This is all a long way from Jenna's regular work. We started our conversation by finding out what her role entails, and I began by asking what would it say on Jenna's passport under occupation?

 

JENNA

So it's interesting when you say about passports because I went to America recently, I went to Mexico but stopped in America, and they're quite intense over there aren't they? They like to ask you a lot of questions at customs. The guy there was asking me “what do you do?” and I tried to explain – Theatre Producer. “What does that mean?” I work in Theatre. “What does that mean? You're an actor?” No. “You're a director?” No. “Are you on stage?” No. I think I ended up being there for five minutes trying to explain? Eventually I just said oh I just help put shows on, basically. His feedback was that I “dressed like a Theatre person”, which I quite enjoyed.

 

Both laugh.

 

NATHAN

That's one of those where you go “I'll take it” and then did you end up thinking about it later – what did he mean?

 

JENNA

Yeah, I looked down, and thought I am wearing like a jumpsuit and a headscarf – I am that arty dickhead, here we go. So yeah, I had to just boil it down to “I just help put shows on.” So I guess that's what I do – put shows on.

 

NATHAN

So if someone listening thinks: I don't really get that – what part do you produce, how might they understand what you might do, day to day?

 

JENNA

My specialism, what interests me the most is trying to engage people who maybe haven't seen Theatre or don't see Theatre or don't think Theatre is for them, trying to engage them in seeing shows for the first time. That might be young people in their schools; so I produce a schools tour every year for the National Theatre, It might be trying to find ways of encouraging people who don't come to the theatre already to come and see shows in their local venue, or it might be encouraging teachers and students to engage with our online shows for free in their classroom – or whilst we're on lockdown, seeing shows in their front room. So my job varies.

On the schools tour, I am literally involved in: the budget, and the casting, and finding the venues, and the rehearsal period, working with the director, working on every element of putting that show together ready for touring. And then taking it on tour and being with that show, being the production team, and cast on tour – the nuts and bolts of that, every little detail.

I also work on the National Theatre's big touring stuff – so over the last few years we've toured War Horse around the UK, we have toured Hedda Gabler, we've toured Macbeth...My role on that is audience development and learning. I don't work necessarily on producing the show in the same way that I do on the schools tour. I work with the production team and the creative team and with the partner venues we go to. Essentially, the catch all thing is how do we keep engaging more people, not only in National Theatre work, but also in local venues and drama and theatre across the UK. In a nutshell.

 

NATHAN

I am going to throw out what I'm aware might be a really irritating question to you, but it is something I've heard a lot over the last few years. When you talk about encouraging and enabling people to see Theatre, if people want to see Theatre, surely they'll just go anyway? Why do they need to be encouraged and helped?

 

JENNA

Well, I don't think that's true (laughs), surprisingly, I think – and this is a personal opinion – I think there is still an elitism that exists, not only just in theatre, but also the arts. It's too easy to say it's a price barrier, it's about money, because it's more than that. It's about who we see in our venues, who we imagine theatre is for. Quite often the thing that I hear is “I don't go in that venue, it's not for me, I don't go and see that show, it's not for me. I won't understand it, I'll feel uncomfortable, I don't know what it means, I don't know how to behave. It's all those other barriers.

You know, I go and see shows all the time, and I've been working in theatre my entire adult life and I don't understand some stuff. I see some stuff and I don't get what that means – I don't get that show at all. Some Shakespeare I'm like “huh, what? What was that?”

 

It's about cultural democracy, it's about people understanding that art and theatre, and museums, are owned by us as citizens, our taxes pay for them. These are cultural buildings that we should all be invested in and it's about helping people feel that kind of empowerment about those spaces, about the work: you're valued and you have a right to be in these buildings, you have a right to see this work. With the current cuts in art and theatre, young people have never seen it, they've never seen theatre so how do they know if they like it or not? How do they know if it's something that they want to do, something that they might enjoy? I think it's about opening up opportunities for people to see stuff and then if you don't like it and you hate the art form, fine. But you should have a choice.

 

MUSIC

 

NATHAN

With Jenna talking about who we see in our venues, it reminded me of my conversation on a previous episode with Tonia Daley Campbell where she talked about the power of seeing a black person on stage or on TV and recognising “her” up there and thinking it was possible for her too. I mentioned this to Jenna and asked her whether she always felt theatre was for her, and whether there was a similar moment of thinking – oh, this is for me? For her, there were some family trips to different shows, but instead of a specific moment – there were specific teachers; teachers who went above and beyond, even when the resources weren't there:

 

JENNA

Part of the reason I do my job now, is that I had some incredible teachers. I had one in Primary School who basically binned of the curriculum (laughs). We just spent a year making plays, studying art, reading about history ,and literally she would a write a play and we would go and do it.

 

NATHAN

That sounds brilliant.

 

JENNA

We did Shakespeare and she was incredible. I remember her now, Miss Doherty. I had another Drama teacher, I think from Year 9 in secondary school Sue Grajczonek who is still my hero. She was incredible – a Drama department of one teacher. She was a total bas-ass feminist as well – not that I knew that at the time, but in hindsight. So all the plays she picked were strong feisty women, from Greek tragedy up to Shelagh Delaney. And then I fell in love. She took us to places like Bolton Octagon, Oldham Coliseum, Royal Exchange. She took us to Contact Theatre, which would go on to change my entire life. We went to see the whole spectrum of work from Brecht, and Ibsen, and all of that to Forced Entertainment running around naked on stage. We saw everything and not just curriculum linked. It was just – you should see this.

It's worth saying I went to a very normal, average, state school in Oldham. We had no money, no budget, we had no drama studio, we didn't have a drama classroom, we had nothing. There was no budget for props, it was very limited. We just had a Drama teacher that was so passionate about the work that with all of the things we didn't have - she made up for it.

 

MUSIC

NATHAN

It might seem like a cliché, or stereotype, but quite often, when I speak to or read quotes from people who are the children, or grandchild of someone who has emigrated to a new country to escape hardships or turmoil, or to seek a better life; there is a push and a drive to achieve and become secure, useful. For Jenna, as a teenager, this led to pursuing history with the promise of law at the end – something safe, not something risky, like an arts career. When an opportunity arose at Contact theatre in Manchester, she couldn't resist it and a new career emerged. I wondered if now that she is working at the famous National Theatre felt like even more of a statement, and an achievement, and if it is seen that way when she goes back home.

 

JENNA

Yeah, it's huge actually, it's huge. I kind of forget it is. It's the surname thing as well, having Omeltschenko is...it means something. I mean, everyone's surname means something but I know the background of my family and I know what they've been through and I know how hard it was. In the Soviet Union, in the Ukraine - my grandad was Ukrainian - and the stuff he used to talk about, the things that he saw and the things that his family saw, and then you flip two generations forward and I'm on the South Bank working for the National Theatre and...I always had in my head this idea of this pressure of “what are you going to do? What's the point of you? They've done all of this? You need to be useful and important.” The problem is whether they think it's important or not. (Laughs.) You know what I mean? Like, I think it is, but whether or not they do is a different question.

 

NATHAN

When you take shows to schools – particularly back to Manchester - do you get to interact with the children and students, and do they respond to seeing “one of them” doing what you do?

 

JENNA

Whenever I watch the schools tours in the schools, I always spend a good chunk of the time watching the kids watch the show. There's always one in there who just looks like their mind is on fire. I always think – god, that would have been me. You also underestimate the impact because I think to myself if someone from down the road from here had come to my school, and worked at the National Theatre and was from a background like mine, and was then just chatting to me in my school, it would have blown my mind as well. But then I walk in and I'm just like, oh, it's just me innit? Who cares. You do underestimate the power of that and it's what you were saying before about – is it Tanya?

 

NATHAN

Yeah, Tonia. [Editor note – conversation with Tonia Daley-Campbell on previous episode.]

 

JENNA

Tonia – like, seeing yourself, seeing someone who is where you're from, your background doing the thing that you didn't think was possible to do. I find it quite emotional. I went to see a production of Macbeth in a school in Rochdale before Christmas and it was inspired by the production that Rufus Norris [Artistic Director at National Theatre] directed that we took on tour and a year after the teachers and the students saw it, they put on their own version of Macbeth and I went to see it. Afterwards I went backstage to meet some of the students who were in it to say hello to them. It was the last night of the show, they'd done three nights, they had in their friends and families, and grandmas and neighbours and all that and they were all in tears. Then obviously I was in tears because it was literally about a mile from my school, where I went. Suddenly, you're like – this feels very special.

 

MUSIC

 

NATHAN

Over the last 10 years I've interviewed hundreds of people and without a doubt, my favourite moments are when a guest doesn't have to think or pause to or craft a response because the passion is natural and they're just speaking their truth. It inspires me and I then hope it has the same effect on you the listener.  For this next bit, I'm just gonna to let Jenna's full response play out in full. Because when you work in the arts, you find yourself having to justify it a lot – why is it important? In particular there is a tendency to be a bit...snooty about those who work in schools or do Theatre in education or participation. It was this topic that prompted this response from Jenna that I think perfectly sums up why ensuring that all children not just experience the arts, why making it possible for everyone one of them to have the same opportunities to tell and share their stories is absolutely vital.

JENNA

I tweet about this all the time and I'm known for being quite irate about it, whether it's in the pub, or whether it's on twitter, or it's in a work environment. The idea that participation and learning, and all of that is seen as “less than” is one of the most short sighted thing that this industry could do, or think. Where are the audiences of the future coming from? Who's going to sit and buy tickets and fill those seats in your Theatres? Who's going to be the new directors and actors, the people who revolutionise this industry and take it forward? If it isn't young people then who is it? And how do you get to them? Where do you find them? If budgets and time and all of these cuts are happening for Drama teachers and for art subjects? Those cuts aren't happening in the independent schools, they're not happening at Eton. They're happening in the state schools in areas like Rochdale and Sunderland and Wolverhampton. That's where it's hitting hard. Which means that working class kids, or kids with less opportunity, or kids from poorer backgrounds. They're the ones who won't make it through to being the director of the future, to being the head of the National Theatre, to being in my job, to producing the work, to deciding what stories get told. My worry is that we've made strides in the industry forward over the last ten years and there's some incredible people now heading up amazing venues in London and across the country, here in Manchester at the Royal Exchange with Roy [Alexander Weise] and Bryony [Shanahan] but if you stop the feeding ground of all that, which is getting to young people from diverse backgrounds, from different backgrounds, who maybe don't see their future in Theatre, who don't have that sense of entitlement from birth or from a young age, then all that change stagnates and stops. It's not only about who will be running the buildings in twenty or thirty years, who will be making the work, who will be deciding what stories get told, who will be on the stages, but who will be in the audience? So, the idea that this work is less than is super short sighted. My director of learning, Alice [King-Farlow] put it beautifully about eighteen months ago: in terms of audience development we play the long game. We're here for the next ten, twenty, thirty years, we're to make sure that people still care in twenty, thirty years. For me that comes from not just schools touring – there are so many wonderful organisations across the UK doing this work. Hopefully, what we're doing at the National and what we want to do, is a massive part of that.

 

NATHAN

I'm going to make that clip available as a separate audio file so you do want to share it – feel free.

Right.

One of my favourite interviewers was the late James Lipton who would conduct in depth interviews with actors and directors about their lives and their craft. He used to end the interview with a quick fire round of questions that James said he'd based on a questionnaire by french host Bernard Pivot. With no shame whatsoever I've decided to rip off this idea. I have come up with my own 10 questions and I hope they will provide a quirky insight to my guests.

What was the last live event or exhibition you went to?

 

JENNA

What did I go and see? I went to see...er..ooh! You know what it was? I went to see A Taste of Honey. The National Theatre's production of A Taste of Honey in the West End before it closed.

 

NATHAN

What was the last book you recommended to someone? Oh! Ok. So a friend recommended to me a book called The Warrior of Light [Paulo Coelho], which I have been reading a couple of pages of a day and ti's like little snipped of wisdom and a couple of them have been very pertinent to the situation that we're currently in. I have been sharing a page a day with some friends on our WhatsApp groups.

 

JENNA

Oh my god, this is so hard.

 

NATHAN

You’re DJ-ing a party, what’s the track you play to kick the night off?

 

JENNA

It's got to be Oasis hasn't it?

 

Both laugh.

 

JENNA

I mean. I don't want it to be...

 

NATHAN

Which track would you go for?

 

JENNA

I'd be a total cliché and I'd do Live Forever, Oasis, and I'd wear a green parka.

 

NATHAN

Obviously.

 

JENNA

Obviously.

 

NATHAN

This one should be quite easy, as you told us that you've not been well recently: If you’re at home feeling a bit poorly, what film or TV show do you turn to most often?

 

JENNA

Harry Potter.

 

NATHAN

I think a lot of people are turning to Harry Potter right now.

 

JENNA

I haven't watched it the last couple of weeks. But it's my go to if I feel sad, I feel ill, I can't get off the sofa – I will deep dive into Harry Potter and watch the whole series in a couple of days. There;s something about knowing it ends well – good versus evil and good wins out I just think that's always a nice reassuring thing when you're feeling a bit low.

 

NATHAN

You win a holiday to go anywhere for a weekend – that sounds like such a stupid question at the moment – but if we imagine when this all ends, you win a holiday to go anywhere for a weekend, what would be your choice?

 

JENNA

You know where I'd go? And I'm saying this because – well, I really mean it but also I'm supposed to be going in a few weeks and I'm fairly sure that's not going to happen – but I'd go to Hungary. My grandma is Hungarian and it's probably the country that I've been to the most over the years. I would go to Budapest, for a couple of days, and then I would drive to Balatonand the lake and spend a couple of days there.

 

NATHAN

So these are on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not happy or confident, and 10 being totally happy and confident, how do you feel about these situations: 1) Putting together flat pack furniture.

 

JENNA

Seven.

 

NATHAN

That's a good confident one. Admitting you're wrong.

 

JENNA

(Slightly nervous “woah” sound.) It depends who to! (Laughs.) I'm going to say a six.

 

NATHAN

This is an appropriate one: spending a few days alone.

 

JENNA

Oh god. Actually, great at that currently, ten.

 

NATHAN

Cooking something new from a recipe.

 

JENNA

I am terrible at following recipes I just kind of judge in a way that is very hit and miss. So, just because I'm stubborn – four.

 

NATHAN

Last one: confronting a friend when you think they’ve done something disagreeable.

 

JENNA

I think I would say six, I think my friends would say eight!

 

NATHAN

That's it, you're all done – thank you so much!

 

JENNA

That was so much fun

NATHAN

I've just decided that I'm going to call that quick fire section “10 to”. That was Jenna at 10 to.

This episode is part of a little mini series about things that people love – it might be a place, a song, a book, an idea, a hobby – pretty much anything. In the previous episode, actor and producer Tonia Daley-Campbell told me about her love of dance. For this episode, I have a confession to make. Not only did I already know what Jenna's love would be – it's a love that I also share. Although for reasons that will soon become clear – Jenna's love for this is much tied to her family and childhood.

One of the highlights of this love was over 20 years ago...

 

(Montage clip of crowd singing and commentary from 1999 Champions League final as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scores the winning goal for Manchester United.)

 

If you're not a United fan, or even a football fan, this has much to do with family and home as it does to do with football....

 

NATHAN

When did you know what Manchester United is?

 

JENNA

So, disclaimer again, I am obviously – in case you can't tell – I am Mancunian, this is the Manchester accent. Where I actually am right now is New Moston and we are about a minute down the road from Newton Heath, which is – for the other nerds in the world – is where Manchester United first was born, and the football team was called Newton Heath, and then they became Man United. My Mum's side of the family, my grandparents were Irish and back in Ireland were massive Man United fans. When they came over and they moved to Manchester they had five kids, I've got three Uncles on my Mum's side, my Mum and my Aunt and I think it is fair to say that every single one of them is a massive red. There's not a moment of my life that I can remember not knowing what Man United was really. I don't think I had any choice. If I had been anything but United I think I would have been disowned.

 

NATHAN

I think I kind of know the answer to this question: so how much would you say that United is part of your identity?

 

JENNA

Oh man! I don't think I can even quantify that. I vaguely remember weekends when football was on TV, we'd gather round and we'd watch it and I remember being very young and asking “can't we watch something else?” But I think that lasted probably a matter of months before I was completely immersed in it. My biggest memories of being a kid were going to Old Trafford, the Treble season – all of that. Some of the biggest, most amazing moments of my life have been at Old Trafford or being a United fan. Actually, it's one of the things that I'm missing the most right now being on lockdown.

 

NATHAN

It's weird isn't it?

 

JENNA

It's so weird. My Dad passed away when I was 22, 23, and through various other heartbreaks in my life, the one thing that will always snap me out is watching Man United, even if we're rubbish and losing. The feeling of that team and what it means...

I think even more than Theatre – which I probably shouldn't say for obvious reasons considering where I work, obviously it's my biggest passion in the whole world. But it's so intrinsic in being a Mancunian, my family, everything about it is linked to Man United and to football. I can't really imagine a world without it. Quite often people roll their eyes – especially in Theatre, not many people love football – and I just think oh god, how sad that you don't have this thing.

NATHAN

There's that ritual of football isn't there? You know when the season starts, we used to know when it would end, it provides this sense of comfort. Being a United fan there's seems to be a pull, and I see you tweeting about this sometimes, this unwavering loyalty to the local players, home-grown players from the area.

 

JENNA

Oh god yes.

 

NATHAN

Does that play a part for you? You said it doesn't even matter if United are rubbish, is that because generally, every week, United have a homegrown player that you can connect to?

 

JENNA

I think it's massively important. For me, growing up working class, in a bit of a shit area of Manchester if I'm honest, I mean, I love it but thousands wouldn't, there was a point in the 90's where working class boys from Manchester were everywhere – were global superstars. You think about Nicky Butt, the Neville brothers, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, I mean Welsh, yes, but grew up in Salford for most of his life and his teenage years. Then Oasis, the Gallagher brothers, from Burnage round the corner, and even Take That were all Mancunians, apart from Robbie, you know, Mark Owen was down the road from where I am now. Being a teenage in Manchester in that era, music, football, everywhere you looked, working class lads, who were from similar backgrounds to mine who were just taking over the world. And unashamedly so. Unashamedly Mancunian. Look at Gary Neville and Liam Gallagher – they're different characters but they had that Mancunian cockiness about them, that gobbiness, that kind of we're going to take over the world energy. Gary on the pitch and off the pitch as a pundit and as a businessman and Liam...well, just Liam innit? I mean, how do you describe that? So I think when you see that in the current players as well. Plus, Mancunians are quite weird. I say that with absolute fondness and love but we're super loyal to our city, and to our club and you see it with Marcus Rashford now. The pandemic has been going on for a few weeks and what did he do? He went out and raised £400, 000 to support young kids in the Manchester area who won't have free school meals anymore. Over Christmas he spent weeks and weeks and weeks doing a campaign for people who are homeless, doing gift boxes for people who need extra help over the Christmas period. We're very proud of our city, we're very proud of who we are, we're very big personalities, you know “gobby” some would say. So I think when you see United players who are also Mancunians you just feel that extra connection and you know it means something. It means something for all the players on that team but it means something special for Marcus and Gary when you're playing for your childhood team, and you're playing in Manchester and you get to give back to the city that you're from. Like me saying before about me going into schools in Manchester it feels different.

 

NATHAN

I do know people that say “oh I've never tried a sport”, or “I could never get into it”. Do you think it is possible for someone that hasn't had a long time interest in a sport to get into it late? Do you think it's possible for someone to get a love for football in the same way someone might if they go and see theatre for the first time?

 

JENNA

I think there's two things to that and this probably leads in to my two loves in the world, theatre and football as we know. But I also love a gig, I love comedy, and the unifying thing for is I love a live event. There was some research that was done, the thing that struck me about it was that it said if you are at a live event with other people, and it has to be something that you're enjoying, ideally, your heartbeats sync together. How incredible is that? I think that is fascinating.

NATHAN

I think it's one of those, that you can't quite describe that feeling. I think you get that visceral sense of being something, like you were saying, whether it's a gig and one song or moment, and you kind of have that stupid look on your face as you turn around to look at others, and I think it's the same in a football crowd, but it is hard to describe to people that haven't experienced it.

 

JENNA

I think they're all similar worlds and I think if you enjoy a live experience, and you're someone who enjoys being in that moment with other people and sharing this unique experience that you will never experience again. All those moments are live, aren't they? So every night of one show in the West End, if you do sixty nights, it will be different every night and you can never recapture that moment again, in the same way you can't with sport or you can't with comedy, or with music – every night is different. If you enjoy that, across any live art form, I think there is a world in which you can cross over into others. But in the same way that theatre can be seen as elitist sometimes and “not for me”, football can be quite similar? It's kind of an “in” club, you don't understand the rules, you don't understand the offside rule, or VAR, or the transfer window, or you can't name the players or you don't know who scored the winning goal in this game twenty, thirty years ago; you can feel quite isolated. Football fans are quite guilty of that as well. You know we sit in pubs talking about, like, players from the 70s or whatever and “that goal that was scored in the FA Cup Final in 1963!”

 

NATHAN

There's a gate keeping isn't there?

 

JENNA

There is a gate keeping about it, yeah. So there is a world in which we don't really want to like football because it's our closed little club, in the same way theatre is. I just think we need to be better as fans of theatre and football and music and whatever, to be that person who is, you know -

 

NATHAN

There you go! I've got it. What we can do is, I'll offer out to anyone that's listening thinking that they want to try United, we can adopt a United fan.

 

JENNA

(Laughs) I would definitely do that!

 

NATHAN

They can contact us on twitter and if they're not sure, we can be all supportive and answer their questions.

 

JENNA

Yeah.

 

NATHAN

Right, so if anyone's listening – we'll adopt a United fan, you can come and join the club.

 

MUSIC.

 

NATHAN

Seriously, if you feel you want to get into football, let us know and we can connect on social media and be your football buddy mentor.

I couldn't let our conversation end without asking what seemed like an obvious question – considering Jenna's passion for both Theatre and football - has she never tried or considered a bit of a mashup? A Theatre show about football?

 

JENNA

Oh you know what, I always think this then I just think you've got to be so cautious, because there aren't many people in Theatre that love football. I think what is more interesting is rather than just doing a play about football is how do we learn from the football industry and their engagement with their fans. I think there is more to learn that way, from a developing audience point of view.

 

NATHAN

I'm just going put this out there – obviously this needs to be you working with Marcus Rashford to do community outreach Theatre...

 

JENNA

I mean, that would probably be the dream right? Sorry National Theatre but if ever there was a world in which the Marcus Rashford Foundation starts and he's looking for someone to start the young people's community engagement...I am here.

 

NATHAN

They've got time on their hands, there's no football, the Theatre of Dreams could soon be extended. That would work.

 

JENNA

Exactly. Theatre of Dreams spin off.

 

MUSIC

NATHAN

Thank you to Jenna for giving up her time, whilst also recovering from the plague. For those of you who might have been wondering about the research and heartbeats synchronising at a live event – it was a study from 2017 by University College London. It monitored 12 audience members at a Theatre show – Dreamgirls in case you're wondering – and the subjects did indeed synchronise pulses during the show, and it continued into the interval. As an additional note – this followed the same team's research that found experiencing a a live Theatre performance could stimulate your cardiovascular system to the same extent as a 28minute workout. Bored of Joe Wicks already? Get your family or housemates to put on their own version of Hamilton.

There is another episode coming up in this mini series about things we love, recorded back when we could meet up and go outside for such frivolities as visiting an historic site to record a conversation about poetry and Victorians. Before that though, we go to Hollywood – sort of – to talk TV, film, stories and comfort watching with Jonathan Gilbert.

 

That's next episode on Humanish. To help other find the podcast it would be SUPER AWESOME if you could rate and review the podcast on iTunes – you can do this from the app. Also, don't be shy in sharing this with your friends – or foes. You can keep in touch and send me any comments or questions on all forms of social media by adding humanishy. I hope oyu can join me again next time on Humanishy.

 

Today's Humanish thing : When I think of something embarrassing that I've done – and this might be from years ago – I involuntarily start humming a tune. Any tune. As if my brain is trying to drown out the embarrassing memory.

 

Take Me Home...

 

(Song plays: Take Me Home (United Road) )

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