Our adult Community company workshops have been delivered since the beginning of the project, providing direct creative opportunities for adults. The group transferred to digital work in Spring 2020.
ECHOES IN THE WINGS
Over Christmas 2020, Echoes in the Wings saw participants collaborate to create a Christmas seasonal radio play, professionally produced and aired on BBC Radio Suffolk and on Theatre Royal’s website (around stories of theatre ghosts and lost audiences), led by Lynn Whitehead.
THE MORAL STEAM ENGINE
The second project undertaken by this group was The Moral Steam Engine with Suffolk Black Collective – exploring the Abolition movement and local resident Thomas Clarkson and his relationships with artists including poet William Wordsworth and the Quaker movement. This group, again led by Lynn Whitehead, was well attended by members of the Quaker community and individuals interested in Black history and local history. This work was a direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the group was heavily over-subscribed.
The groups worked on Zoom and developed new skills in editing, filming, sound recording, writing and research.
NOWT AS QUEER AS FOLK
In March 2022, we delivered a new project with this group – Nowt As Queer As Folk – an inclusive LGBTQIA+ writing and performing project. Output from this group has also included radio plays and scripts with digital production.
SUFFOLK ARCHIVE PLAYBILLS
The Act Your Age and Community Company worked together on a project with Suffolk Archive based on exploring the playbills in their collection. Suffolk Archive publicly exhibited work created by Theatre Royal participants alongside the original playbills in Autumn 2022 at Suffolk Archive. The companies created new stories from playbill titles from the archive.
“As an artist, I worked with Act Your Age on the playbills project in partnership with Suffolk Record Office. In the project, we unpicked the plethora of playbills that Theatre Royal has in its archives and focused on different theatrical styles within them – melodrama, monologue, song, and farce. The project was run on Zoom and we ended up making our own recorded playbill full of pieces written by the group. I loved working with this group, they adapted to the Zoom way of working really well and, as a practitioner, it was great to focus on the theatre’s history and making it come alive.”
David Whitney, Facilitator
LOCKDOWN WORKSHOP WEDNESDAYS
Artist Lynn Whitehead led weekly sessions during the lockdown, engaging the wider community and making theatre skills available to people outside of the theatre’s formal courses.
The Community Company work has enabled us to pivot and respond to current social priorities and we are currently carrying out feasibility work in order to develop this work further.
Themed terms and short-term projects were introduced into this strand which helped to consolidate and focus the group whilst working digitally. It helped to draw in and diversify participants and respond to the desires of participants to make shorter-term and more goal-focused commitments.
We invested resources in a professional Production Editor and Sound Designer, as well as visual artists to create work for digital dissemination, rather than live performance. New expenditure supports the work transferring to digital, which has been very successful, and the distribution of the group’s creative output.