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Welcome to the April edition of my yearlong campaign supporting the creative industry. If you are new to these articles and would like to read the back story from January then visit my website. Also don’t forget that all these articles are accompanied by a YouTube Video, to watch this month’s click here. If you would like to find out how you can get involved in this project or indeed if you’re a media outlet reading this and would like to more information to publish then visit my website.
Reaching Out into Community
It’s been over a year now since the industry was closed due to coronavirus. So this year I wondered how many took to the internet to promote World Theatre day of putting theatre in the minds of locals as we prepare to reopen our doors.
April is a writer’s months with an event called Camp NaNaWriMo. How many of you are using this event as an excuse to reach out to local writers, both professional and wannabes as in encouragement, to show appreciation to writing craft. On the 21st and 22nd April we have World Creativity Day, I would love to hear how you will be encouraging your creative community to celebrate.
2025 Trust Fund Update
The 2025 Trust Fund will be a national charity connected to The New Greatest Show on Earth Project. Like any other charity there will be a board to govern and makes strategic plans to guide the Trust. From the middle of 2023 to the beginning of 2024, I will be recruiting trustees for the board.
During the summer of 2024 the board will begin to recruit member of local task groups who will be the first point of contact for all applications. The application process for grants will be two stage, first it will be the local task groups, made up for a cross section of local community, who will decide who to award the grants too, stage 2 the main board would check to ensure the application does cover the criteria with enough appropriate evidence.
The main board will also focus on finding inspiring stories of individuals and groups that could be awarded specials grants and bursaries.
If you buy Community Logo items from my online shop all profits go towards the Fund, plus you can donate here
Community Spirit in brief
For those interested in being part of the Bridgewater (Somerset) Community Spirit event, whether this be part of organisation or on the day help you can now sign up through our website: www.aticket2ride.co.uk/registation There is still time if you want to sign up to volunteer for the Bridgwater event or indeed create a partner Community Event where you are. Head to the website for details - www.aticket2ride.co.uk/community
If you missed the livestream in March, you can watch on my YouTube channel, link at the bottom, you can download the PowerPoint by clicking here.
Lighting The Beacons
The second phase of The Greatest Show on Earth Project is called, Lighting the Beacons, the focus is on venues and theatres. As explained in this month’s video, Resetting the Stage workshops are the bridge between the first phase, Community and this second phase, you can find out more about the workshops by clicking here. I am introducing Lighting the Beacons now as it will be theatres themselves have struggled through closures due to the pandemic, with some already gone into administration. This format of this programme is a tour, so it will introduce logistics side of the project, which is an area focused on much more in the final phase of this project. More information about Lighting The Beacon will be available on my website from September.
Theatre Through the Years – Puritans and the Plague
The longest closure was after the English civil war when the Puritans took government, they made public performances illegal on moral and economic grounds. Though ‘illegal’ performances still went on, so the Puritans placed fines on spectators for attendances. When the monarchy was restored in 1660 the ban was lifted on theatres and performances.
Then a year or so before Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet the great plague of London struck 1665. This saw the closure of theatres for 14 months and took the lives of around 10,000 Londoners.
Many play writes, actors and artists fled London to tour. It was also through these times of closure that writers like Shakespeare turned to writing poetry. The Kings Men were eventually able to perform at Hampton Court, and were paid £103, plus £30 compensation for their financial loss due to closure.
From the 18 years of Puritan rule to the Plague of London we learn that as an industry there are always things we can do, even in the face of adversity. Still after all those years of closure theatre and arts came back bigger and stronger like never before, in new and better ways.
If in receiving these articles they leave you with a sense of something to get involved, whether it be part of the creation process or the publishing or even help organise local visions of the programmes like Community Spirit. Then please do send me an email offering your support, I would love to hear from you wherever you are.
If you are interested being part of my local Community Spirit event, either as a participant, small business or sponsor, then please contact me on the email below, I would love to hear from you.
If you are a media outlet and would like to pick up on anything in these emails or on the website, then please do feel free to contact me via: firstname.lastname@example.org If you know someone who would like to join the mailing list please get them to email me using the address above.
Posted on 05/04/2021
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'Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away, but love stays with us...'
Ben Hur is our big project, returning to theatrical "normality" after Covid. It is also our biggest/ most ambitious show to date, pushing our teams performance, technical, set, lighting and costuming ingenuity to new heights, bringing this beautiful tale to the stage.
Based on the famous novel by Lew Wallace, Ben Hur is set in the first century AD. Judah Ben Hur, a young nobleman of Jerusalem; a city under the occupation of the Roman Empire; is accused of attempting to murder the Roman governor, by his erstwhile closest boyhood friend, Massala, now a Roman commander. Sentenced to life as a galley slave; a sentence which usually led to death within months, Judah survives, and after a pirate attack on the Roman navy in the Agean sea, travels to Rome a hero, having saved the life of the Roman commander in his escape. He once more returns to Jerusalem, seeking his mother and sister, who were imprisoned for the same attack, and finds no trace of them. He does however, find Massala, and blinded by rage, challenges Massala at the annual arena "Games". Massala is killed in the games, with his dying breath, reveals to Judah that his mother and sister were in fact released and driven from the city as lepers. With all hope, and all desire for revenge, gone, Judah is lost, but fate is not finished with him. He eventually finds his mother and sister, who are miraculously healed by a preacher, who has recently come to the city........
A historical drama set in Biblical times, the tale of Ben Hur is interwoven with the life and death of Jesus Christ, who appears twice in the drama. This is ultimately a powerful tale of hope and love, set within the dramatic and often brutal times of the Roman Empire.
The script features a wide range of strong, memorable characters, both male and female, with a large age range, carefully crafted into a show which will not only explore ambitious creative and inclusive theatre-making, but also a show, that regardless of any religious or political belief of the part of the audience members, will remain a powerful, beautiful memory for years to come.
Subject to coming safely out of the pandemic, and as the UK government have stated, all adults in the UK having been offered their vaccinations by the end of July 2021, we expect to cast the show in August 2021, when we will also begin rehearsals, twice a week (Wednesdays and Sundays) in the room we rent in our local community centre. The show will be toured to local & regional venues, including theatres, churches, and other spaces, during the spring of 2022. We usually perform in at least 4 towns and cities, ranging from our home town of Brixham, up to Bristol, but we are also hoping to expand the tour this time for such an exciting show, actively seeking new venues! We will also be filming the show for online broadcast through our website.
Should the project need to be delayed due to Covid-19, it will only be delayed, with full news available , and will begin as soon as is safe for our actors and crew.
The show is written and directed by South Devon Players founder, Laura Jury.
Posted on 15/03/2021
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Welcome to the March addition, the third of my year long journey in supporting the creative industry to return to our communities in the wake of the current pandemic.
The latest announcements from the UK Prime Minister of the 22nd February regarding his road map to unlocking the economy has been welcomed by most industries, with creative being to reopening reopen from the 17th May.
In case anyone has missed them, you can download the full details here.
As with previous emails this one is accompanied by a YouTube video, this month I talk about the 2025 Trust Fund, click here to watch, also subscribe to the channel to get the latest updates.
You will also find my series The Paradox of the Arts here as well other videos, including the recent pre-recorded live stream that gives more information on the Community Spirit programme.
Online Speaking Engagements
Just to remind you all that I am making myself available to speak to organisations and boards about my The Greatest Show on Earth Project and you can get involved. You can contact me through the usual channels at the bottom of the email.
Resetting the Stage
As the creative industry begins to make its plan its reopening and comeback, we need to look at ways that we can sustain ourselves going to forward. You can find out more by clicking here. As part of The Greatest Show on Earth Project I created a series of workshops that look to encourage boards and volunteers to think outside the box as we work our way back into our communities.
For those interested in being part of the Bridgewater (Somerset) Community Spirit event, whether this be part of organisation or on the day help you can now sign up through our website: www.aticket2ride.co.uk/registation If you are thinking on putting a similar Community Spirit event in your area and would like to tap into my volunteer system, then please do get in touch through the usual channels at the bottom of email for more information.
Theatre Through the Years – Medieval Years
By Medieval Europe theatre was being used as a way to educate people on the new Christian religion, with priest regularly performing to retell the celebrations of Christianity.
More widely in communities’ groups of people would perform morality plays. These were so often performed by ordinary people and organised and funded by guilds of craftsmen and merchants. Other forms of theatre were mystery and farces.
Today’s theatre still has medieval roots, including stage directions and most plays are written in ordinary everyday language.
Taken from the lessons of medieval times which aimed at educating people, during this pandemic, where we can’t do what we want to do to entertain, we can go back to our roots by using our crafts to teach and educate on the current situation.
I am keeping the website updated so please do keep an eye out for key information. I am also happy to hear feedback on these emails, the programmes or indeed what you are doing as the UK begins to unlock. So please do feel free to contact me at any time either through social media or email.
If you know anyone who would like to receive these emails please get them to email me through email@example.com to be included, don’t forget to add this address into your contacts to stop the emails going to your junk box, as well as subscribe to the YouTube channel and follow me on social media.
Posted on 01/03/2021
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Welcome to February’s email article. For those of you who are new on the mailing list these emails are all accompanied by a YouTube video which you can find by clicking here, the theme this month is Volunteering. Don’t forget to subscribe and press the bell for the latest upload notifications.
So, January brought the UK into another lockdown, meaning all venues are forced into yet another closure, so not a good start to the New Year, is probably an understatement. But focusing on the positives, we have seen lots of people showing their support for the arts, wanting theatres reopened, because they know, like we do just how much the creatives impact have on their communities and individual lives.
Like with many businesses during the current COVID situation, I am not able to offer up a full list of services. However, I am happy to speak via Zoom to board, staff and volunteers about the project and the 2025 Trust fund. It will give you an idea how you can get involved and how it could potentially impact you and your local community. I’m charging a small fee of £10 per engagement, this will be placed in the 2025 Trust Fund.
If you would like more information, please feel free to email me or message me through the Facebook page or direct message on Ingram both profiles are @at2rentertainment.
I think what we are learning from the pandemic is that we need to think small, over the last couple of decades or so we have seen this idea of nationalisation and globalisation. Where businesses become corporate and set up as many outlets across the country, some individuals owning more than one of these businesses and employing thousands of people. I think 2020 has shown that this model really doesn’t work, how many of national chains put in requests of funding from the government or investors? How many people lost jobs as a result of these businesses closing down?
So right in the heart of these hard times, when unemployment is high and funding is scares and people are looking to find ways to make a difference, as an industry this is our moment, we are at the heart of every community, a concept that I spoke about on video in latter part of 2020, you can find them on my YouTube channel.
So, let’s encourage people to be creative it’s what we do best as an industry, connecting people with their inner selves through imagination. Pre pandemic the creative industry enjoyed thousands of hours of support from volunteers who showed the love for our industry by helping to making it happen in their own communities.
The 2025 Trust Fund
Don’t forget to donate to the 2025 Trust fund. Over the course of the year through these emails and videos, you will learn more about the Trust Fund and what it means to the industry, also how you can get involved, both in terms of fundraising and being part of the strategic planning that will give accountability for ensuring the money arrives where it is due and on time. Click here to donate.
In 2018 a £4.5 million program was launched by the UK Health Secretary that would see the arts put on prescription from doctors in an attempt to tackle health issue such as depression, social isolation and even those with complex needs. Activities include drama, singing, visiting museums and creative reading. These were not about replacing, but instead to be worked alongside conventional therapies and medicines.
I think that even with the current restrictions we should still be able to fulfil this role within our communities by whatever means we can. The review on this incentive in December 2020 showed how positive the impact Arts on Prescription has become. Maybe this is a starting point to bring our audiences back to our venues, it will also bring new unsung talent to light.
As we recover from the pandemic, we need become proactive and explore new, inclusive and engaging ways to reach out to our communities, things we have never dared to try before.
The Community Spirit programme is about sharing in each other’s ideas, because the lockdowns during this pandemic have shown, we need to move forward in our approach because government is not going to jump at supporting as part of its response. So, as an industry we need find ways to support people who suffer with isolation and other mental health issues, as we have heard this is worse than ever during this lockdown. Plus, there will always be away to link those programmes to our main aims and objects.
As a way of sharing and networking I have created a Community Spirit group on Facebook, you can join by clicking here. There are also local versions of the group that you are welcome to join via the same means.
Don’t forget in August I am hoping to launch the Community Spirit main event (COVID pending) which is a fundraiser for the 2025 Trust Fund and the opportunity for the industry to seek out hidden talent within our communities.
Finally, though the plans for the Main Event have currently stalled slightly due to the uncertainty of the pandemic’s restrictions and length of lockdown, we are opening registration for those wishing to volunteer in the Bridgwater event on the 22nd February, please head to www.aticket2ride.co.uk/registration. If you are putting on your own version of this event and decide that you would like to tap into my volunteer system to for recruitment, please get in touch through the usual channels to find out how.
Theatre Through the Years – The Beginning
It’s important that as an industry we never forget where we have come from, because there are lessons embedded in our past that will help us in our future and it holds the keys to our road out of this pandemic.
So here in the UK theatre started as a set of traditional rituals performed by Celtic and Pagan cleric, but real theatre as we know was created in Greece, comedy and plays were first performed in 6th century BCE.
It was developed as it made its way through Europe, like the Olympic flame, arriving in the UK around the 5th Century, where over the cause of 2000 years we have adopted, developed and changed it to what we know today.
In this time of uncertainty, where the industry is forced to a standstill, we need to stop, take stock and return to our roots. Not to Greece, but to the way we sold it the whole entertainment thing to the crowds, both as audience and participants, by going out into the community and doing what we love more. The 21st century extends the community around us as we meet and find people online who share in our own personal unique creativity.
Keeping in touch is so important as we begin this long road to recovery. I find there is nothing more uplifting then hearing both positives and struggles from others as we share this journey together. So please do feel free to contact me at any time either through social media or email.
Networking and supporting each other is more important than ever before, but the industry will get through this, we will come back bigger, better and stronger than ever.
If you know anyone who would like to receive these articles as emails please get them to email me through firstname.lastname@example.org to be included, don’t forget to add this address into your contacts to stop the emails going to your junk box, as well as subscribe to the YouTube channel and follow me on social media.
Posted on 02/02/2021
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Online playreading group expands to keep more adults connected and entertained during lockdown
Press Release: 19th January 2021
With the latest UK lockdown meaning people are once again finding themselves socially isolated, disconnected from others and struggling to keep occupied, Dramatis Community Drama School has expanded its much-loved online playreading group to provide a wider variety of plays, dates and times so more adults can participate.
When lockdown was first announced back in March 2020, Dramatis was quick to adapt its programming and move to a virtual format. As part of its new digital offering, Dramatis launched ‘Wine and Wilde’ online playreading sessions.
This affordable online activity (which brought people together via Zoom sessions to read through an Oscar Wilde play) had such an overwhelming response, that Dramatis has expanded it for 2021. The new Plays and Pinot format provides participants with a larger range of plays from different playwrights as well as a wider selection of dates and times.
Plays and Pinot is ideal for adults who are interested in the literary classics but keen to explore them in a new way. The lowpressure environment means it is also perfect for those who are unfamiliar with acting; as there are no lines to learn, and no stages to perform on! Participants are pre-assigned characters in scenes from a play which they then read through together as a small group. In keeping with the informal nature of the group, participants are encouraged to bring along a glass of wine or alternative beverage of choice for a de-brief afterwards.
As Janet, one of the attendees, explains: “I was hesitant at first as I’m quite self-conscious, but I had so much fun!”. Marty, another attendee, adds “It’s been great to meet new drama lovers and have some social interaction to look forward to during lockdown” while Mandy says, “Everybody’s really friendly and supportive”. Whilst Dramatis is Sussex based, and so normally focuses on bringing the communities of Bognor Regis and Chichester together, the online Plays and Pinot group means adults from across the UK (including Liverpool and Eastbourne) have been able to join in too.
Dramatis Principal, Suzy Duxbury, adds: “it’s been a pleasure to welcome so many adults to our online playreading sessions since lockdown began and we’re excited to now expand the programme and utilise the power of drama to help more people through this difficult time”.
The first block of Plays and Pinot (A Country Wife) is already sold out but there are spaces available for upcoming sessions which include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pride and Prejudice, Heartbreak House, Lady Windemere’s Fan and What Every Woman Knows.
Dramatis is the drama school with a heart for all ages! The Sussex based, multi-generational drama school provides drama fun for all ages. Dramatis views its pupils and participants as part of an extended family, and as such believes that nurturing their unique qualities, developing their social skills and having fun are just as important as improving their acting abilities. Founded by Suzy Duxbury ATCL, an experienced Trinity and LAMDA teacher, the Youth Drama programme is carefully structured to get the best out of pupils’ natural talents while the Adult Drama programme offers participants a low-pressure environment to explore their inner thespian!
FIRST CUT 2021 Film Festival to encourage diversity in Filmmaking at FLAME UNIVERSITY!
Posted by Editor Deepak Sinha
What's so cool about the FIRST CUT 2021 FILM FESTIVAL at FLAME UNIVERSITY is, the festival wants you to use all the small and big equipment you have, to make stories. Be it mobile phones, DSLR or story-boarding, animations. FIRST CUT 2021 in collaboration with the FIRST CAT brings a curation of films from around the world, to bring out the curiosity in your stories!