The future of The Open Page Publications

It is over three years since the editorial board of The Open Page last met to complete work on Magdalena@25: Legacy and Challenge, the book that celebrated 25 years of the Project. After such an intensive process we needed time to recuperate and allow creative space for other ideas to emerge.

In reconvening now, early in 2015, we have been exploring our aspirations for the future. Clearly one option is to bring out another issue of The Open Page and we have discussed outstanding proposals on themes like “laughter”, “spirit”, “death”, “exile” and “violence”. However, we have decided that our priorities lie elsewhere and that the Journal might be better developed by those who are moved to do it. It might even find its home on the Magdalena website, rather than in a paper publication. Or it may be that the original impetus behind the Journal might now manifest itself in the hosting of online talks and videos as well as articles. Perhaps this potential is for another generation to explore?

Instead we have agreed that we want to focus our energies, and the limited time at our disposal, on bringing out another book on a theme that concerns us all very much at the moment - Tomorrow’s Work and Present Futures. This brings together our questions and aspirations as to ‘what comes next’? What is the continuing value of theatre work in the twenty-first century? How can we, for example, sustain our conviction that it is possible to go on creating work that makes a difference?

The Open Pagein the form of a journal came out of a desire to create a place for theatre women to record their experiences of making work, whether within the context of a group or working alone. The thirteen editions of the Journal, and Legacy and Challenge, the book celebrating twenty-five years of The Magdalena Project, have contained much more than this: personal stories, significant influences, practice, pedagogy and, frequently, reflections on the perplexing question of how to pass knowledge and experience on to another group or generation of women. The Open Page wove together the threads of different women’s lives through and across time and different continents. In particular we have enjoyed celebrating the work of women who have survived whilst always seeming to be swimming against the current.

Today, as an editorial team, for different reasons and in different ways, we find ourselves deeply affected by thoughts of tomorrow and the place of the future in our current work. In a cultural environment where visions of the future contain as much threat as promise, we feel it is important to embrace both negative and positive anxieties about possible tomorrows, and reflect on how those anxieties are impacting on our work. The Open Page: Tomorrow’s Work and Present Futures is the working title for the book that we hope will examine how the future, and future thinking or planning, is transforming our strategies and forms of work.

This book will connect with The Magdalena Project, but will look beyond its history and specific manifestations, whilst maintaining the emphasis on personal voices and the articulation of women’s experiences of theatre as well as the imperative to leave traces behind us. At the moment we envisage the book being composed of a core of commissioned chapters of a substantial length, interspersed with curated interviews and poems. We anticipate that the book will be published in 2017.


Julia Varley, Geddy Aniksdal, Gilly Adams & Maggie B. Gale

Holstebro, January 2015