Lynne Parker

Lynne Parker

Redefining Space and Time

We’ve been working in virtual reality for nearly six months now and there’s something unworldly and timeless about this space.  I lose track of time and regular tasks seem to take longer to do than usual. Or maybe it just feels that way?

Processes that are meant to be faster and more efficient using technology have become increasingly complex as everybody adopts new systems, and the rituals of ‘logging on’ have taken on new meaning now that we can be seen in our natural habitats rather than a bland office environment. Book cases, pot plants and art have become status symbols and we dress for success only from the waist up.

There’s an odd ‘slo mo’ effect to working remotely when you would think it would be quicker and more efficient.  Yet, we are planning things in a shorter time frame than for a real live ‘in person’ event. Even when we plan ahead, we are working right up to the last minute and people are still booking and ‘jumping on Zoom’ literally as we go ‘on air’.

This is frustrating but then for those of us familiar with the casual walk up style of events like the Edinburgh Fringe and live comedy in general, arrival time has always been a moveable feast. Now instead we’re competing with online yoga classes, the kids’ tea, bedtime stories and wine o’clock!

I have to confess that I don’t enjoy this element of online working.  The same level of organisation and commitment goes into producing a virtual event, as it does for a live event.  The process is different but doesn’t take any less time or trouble. I am still disappointed when I see that the Zoom attendance doesn’t match the ticket sales which feels exactly the same as empty seats.

It looks like the virtual space will be our main platform for some time to come so we should try to support each other and attend as many events in real time as possible.

That said, I am guilty of over-committing and, while my diary was very full at the beginning of lockdown, I have started to filter out my invitations and only attend the events that I know will engage me fully. There was novelty value in not having to leave the house to have a meeting or network with my peers. Now the dreaded Zoom Fatigue has properly set in and we’ve got to reconfigure how we use this time and space to best effect.

On a positive, we don’t have to worry about travelling to and from venues, complex get ins and technical set ups.  We’ve also improved our carbon footprint. However, while we save time on these elements, production values still matter and not everybody is familiar with Zoom, Hopin, Blue Jeans or whatever platform your virtual production is using.  It’s important to take the time learning how to use them so that event organisers (like us) can focus on programming great content.

So now that I’ve got that off my chest, this week is a new milestone.  We’re running our first actual live Funny Women show in a venue since mid-March behind closed doors this Tuesday 22nd September. Despite the distractions of COVID-19 protocols and ever-changing government guidelines, we are all beyond excited.

The Stage Award final of the 2020 Funny Women Awards is taking place in the Comedy Store London, where we first held the final from 2003 to 2009. and this is the world-famous venue’s first gig since lockdown.  

There will only be the acts, crew and judges in attendance and the event will be live streamed for the exclusive enjoyment of registered ticket holders on Zoom. It’s as ‘live’ as we can make it and you will only be able to watch the show in real time if you buy a ticket. No last minute ‘jumping on’ allowed!

To whet your appetite for the ‘real thing’ we’re also proud to announce that a full-length programme of our 2019 Funny Women Awards final, at the Bloomsbury Theatre featuring all the acts and behind the scenes footage, is now live on NextUp here.

Two amazing online events redefining space and time for your viewing pleasure bringing you the best of brand new female comedy. What’s not to like?  Enjoy!

To watch the 2020 Funny Women Awards, Stage Award final streamed live from the Comedy Store London in real time, you need to be a registered ticket holder. Booking link here.

If you enjoy watching last year’s Funny Women Awards on NextUp you can also get an exclusive free trial and enjoy great new and original comedy until the END OF THE YEAR. Follow the link here and enter the code ‘FWA’.

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