Theatre Makers Lloyd McDonagh and Salvatore Scarpa talk about their visual publication ‘Exeunt: The Stage Door Project’ created in support of the arts!

During what was an unpredictable time for creatives due to the impact of the pandemic, this left many professionals out of work in need of financial support. Inspired to help their fellow industry by curating a publication comprising of images and anecdotes from the industry’s broad spectrum of talent, Exeunt: The Stage Door Project documents the voices of some of the industry’s leading luminaries including Dame Judi Dench, Simon Callow, Michael Sheen, Robert Lindsay and Zoë Wanamaker amongst others. A hardback collector’s, Exeunt: The Stage Door Project is currently available to pre-order, with proceeds going to The Actor’s Benevolent Fund, ArtsMinds and the Theatre Artists Fund! Ahead of the release, Lloyd and Salvatore tell us more about the creation of the thoughtful book!

Hi Lloyd and Salvatore, Renard Press will be releasing your publication Exeunt: The Stage Door Project consisting of photos and anecdotes from some of the UK acting industry’s leading luminaries. How are you feeling ahead of the release?

Hey Lucy, we can’t believe it’s finally here! We started putting this together just after the pandemic hit the UK. So, as you can imagine, it’s been a long time coming. It’s really one of those “tip of the iceberg” situations. We’re both incredibly proud and excited!

Exeunt: The Stage Door Project marks almost two years of documenting the theatre scene in our now post-pandemic world. How did you find taking this project on during such an unpredictable time?

We’re both actors so when everything stopped, and the industry came to a standstill, it dawned on us that we would have to find a way of staying creative and connected to the industry.

With all the live streams, concerts and play readings that were going on at the time, we thought about what we could do to help the industry in our own way.

The first night we ventured out to take pictures we were both aware of how eerily quiet it was. We took the pictures between the times the cast and crew would normally be entering and exiting the theatres. Usually, these doors would be bright and have mysterious and exciting energy. However, this time they were silent, dark and neglected. We had never experienced anything like that before in London.

The publication is a hardback collector’s item comprising of 46 pages featuring stories from the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Simon Callow, Michael Sheen, Robert Lindsay and Zoë Wanamaker. How have you approached creating the book?

That’s right! The process was kind of free-flowing at the beginning. We had these photographs that we really loved and wanted to find a way of bringing them together in a meaningful way that would document what the industry had been through. Then we started contacting professionals to see if they would share their stories and memories of stage doors and this is when we started to see something really special coming together.

It’s fair to say that we still can’t believe that we received contributions from over 90 industry professionals. Everyone has been so generous with their time and every contribution is unique!

What have you learned/taken away from the project?

No matter what happens, there is no stopping the people who love and work in this industry.

We knew that everyone would rally together, but the response we have received for this book is above and beyond what we could have imagined.

Proceeds will go to The Actor’s Benevolent Fund, ArtsMinds and the Theatre Artists Fund. What does it mean to be able to support these vital arts charities?

This was always going to be a charity project from the get-go. With thousands of theatre professionals out of work, support from charities throughout the pandemic was more important than ever. The extent of emotional and financial assistance that they were able to provide to those in need was simply astonishing. We know individuals who have been able to keep doing what they love thanks to the support from these charities.

We hope we’ve created a project that plays a small part in supporting the theatre industry.

Questions by Lucy Basaba.

To find out more about Exeunt: The Stage Door Project, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop