In the latest of our interviews with the UK’s top theatre bloggers, we asked Ian Foster who writes the excellent oughttobeclowns blog to share his thoughts on blogging for theatre.
Ian’s blog includes Top Ten play listings and live links to reviews stretching back as far as 2009, oughttobecown‘s own “Best” Theatre Awards (and it’s a fascinating set) and, most impressively, document’s one man’s monumental effort to attend and review productions of every single work of the Bard, William Shakespeare.
Ian’s blog features regularly in top ten industry roundups such as Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak’s Top Ten Theatre Blog Listings.
To quote Ian’s own words “I just love writing about theatre is all”.
When did you start writing a blog and what do you wish you’d known then?
January 2009 – and I wish I’d known how addictive and all-encompassing it would be
Which other theatre blogs do you read?
All sorts – especially lots of my fellow #LDNtheatrebloggers
How much of your time do you spend on blogging?
If my boss is reading this, then just an hour every night. In reality though, there’s a lot of time spent writing and re-writing, reading up on productions, dealing with correspondence, to blog well and prolifically can be very time-consuming indeed. I aim to achieve the latter at least…
Have you turned your blog into a profitable business or do you write it for just for fun?
Just for fun, to try and keep a bit of balance in my life and in my writing. I have an advert carousel on there which earns enough to get me an interval ice-cream every six months.
What advice can you offer someone who is thinking of starting a theatre blog?
Be prepared to work hard, see as much as you can and write as much as you can, and always try to remember the reason you started in the first place. Also, grow a thick skin, it will be very necessary.
Which show is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, all my pleasures are embraced proudly. I can’t think of anything worse than enjoying something and then not feeling able to share that love.
If you could have dinner with any actor, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
Just one? Today, it would be Isabelle Huppert because I think she is extraordinary (and also, we’d be having French food)
The curse of mobile phones in theatres – how do you propose we tackle the issue?
Audiences need to be bolder in self-policing, and more supportive if/when difficulties arise – don’t just sit and watch someone complain about being asked to switch their phone off by someone else, chip in and say you were being distracted too.
If you want to know more about the very best UK Theatre bloggers, read our Q&As with Mark Shenton, Libby Purves OBE and Matt Trueman. Maintaining a Theatre blog is a lot of work, but there’s nothing so rewarding as writing about the thing you love the most – so if you have something to say, get blogging!