Former University Music Scholar and History gradaute, Livy Potter, now works at York Theatre Royal. In a special guest post, she reflects on the impact of the current climate on theatre-making.
The creative industry, like many others, is having a rather turbulent time of late (unprecedented, you might say – but if I hear or read that word one more time, I may scream). York Theatre Royal, along with theatres and cinemas up and down the country, closed its doors and cancelled all its upcoming performances following government advice on Tuesday 17 March. I was faced with the strange prospect of being the Marketing Officer for an organisation whose usual function is to entertain large groups of people in a confined space…
But can a theatre still have a purpose even if its doors are shut?
We thought – yes. And not only yes, but it is essential that it does. A theatre is a place where creativity is at the heart of everything and that shouldn’t stop being the case simply because its building is closed.
The team at York Theatre Royal have worked hard over the last few weeks to put together Collective Acts, a programme of online activities and digital events that will help our wonderful community stay connected and keep the creativity going until we can open our doors once again. The initiative includes weekly creative challenges, a community radio play, photo competition, video time capsule and a home-based Arts Award to help out with home schooling, with more to come. We’re doing what we can to help spread some joy in this scary time.
Arts organisations across the county are also doing this in droves – live streams, virtual concerts and recordings, digital play readings… the list is endless, and it’s heartening and inspiring to see.
In my little flat here in York, me and the flatmate have been dancing, baking, singing, drinking, yoga-ing… but it’s not happening every minute of every day. Some days the most creative I get is in my choice of socks I wear. So write that bestseller, or don’t. Eat Nutella out of the jar, or don’t. Compose that hit song, or don’t. Stay in your pjs all day, or don’t. It’s all good. There’s no correct way to be creative in a crisis.
By Livy Potter