Theatre Royal Plymouth and our Engagement and Learning Centre, TR2 sit in the heart of Plymouth’s cultural landscape.
Our theatre draws over 360,000 people to its stages every year and TR2 plays host to some of our region’s most exciting and innovative community outreach work. Each year, we engage with over 17,000 participants across our 60+ bespoke community and talent development programmes, working with referral partners across the city and region to engage with particularly vulnerable or isolated groups of people. Throughout lockdown, we have continued to provide life-changing experiences to the local community through workshops online.
Community Celebration Week aims to shine the spotlight on some of this amazing work, and the communities that have been built through it. Highlights include films, theatre work, art pieces and stories, all told by the incredible people enabled to both curate and create through these wonderful, and vitally important, community projects.
Your contribution to our Emergency Appeal will go directly into funding the continuation of this life-changing community work.
“In the last six months, we’ve had to raise our creative game as a team and think hard about how we support, connect and make work with people from across the community.
Thankfully through a combination of zoom, care-packages and tents in parks (amongst other things) we’ve been able to create platforms for meetings, drama sessions, steering groups, performance, connectivity and fun – particularly reaching some of those individuals for whom lockdown has been most challenging.
It gives me such a buzz to see the care and creativity at the heart of the work we’ve delivered and continue to deliver.”
Engagement and Learning Director
Funky Llama is a platform for disabled adults to actively participate in the creation and delivery of a programme of activities and professional, inclusive arts events. These develop well-being, promote multiple social networking opportunities, reduce isolation and enhance life skills.
Funky Llama Short-film
Sara Rhodes, Engagement Manager at Theatre Royal Plymouth said: “This week is a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the breadth of work TRP does in the community. These projects are so important to us and the people we work with.
‘We are thrilled to be able to share the amazing new Funky Llama film as part of the week, which gives a real insight into this unique project we have developed across 7 years; a platform for disabled adults to actively participate in the creation and delivery of a programme of activities and professional, inclusive arts events.”
Funky Llama is still running during this time, to find out how you can get involved, please click the button below.
Funky Llama Online Sessions
Each week we have been running weekly Funky Llama Steering Group sessions, something that started out as a wellbeing check-in has grown and turned our attention towards what we want to say at this time and creative activities for our members to engage with.
It has been amazing to hear all the conversations about how lockdown and isolation is something many disabled people deal with in everyday life and the great strategies and advice they have for coping.
Our Space is a creative programme that works with adults with multiple and complex needs. Members come from all walks of life and may have faced challenges involving homelessness, mental health issues, re-offending, substance misuse, or they may feel isolated for other reasons. Our Space is still running during this time.
For a little more information and how to get in touch, click the button below.
During lockdown, we have been holding weekly virtual Our Space meetings on Zoom. During these sessions we are working on creative writing, audio recordings, vocal work and poetry. Just as importantly we are giving everyone a place to keep in touch with other members and continue to build their friendships and support systems through this work.
The painting to the right was created by Jason Brownlee. Through Our Space, he’s transformed into a talented poet, painter, writer and actor. His painting is also used for the main image of Community Celebration Week.
Overdose Awareness Day
Our Space collaborated with Small performance adventures (Brighton), BDP – Bristol Drugs Project, and Outside Edge Theatre Company (London) to deliver this moving video for Overdose Awareness Day. The four companies have come together to make a creative digital act of remembrance for those lost and/or those with lived experience of overdose.
“I’m really proud of myself for still being here to do this and to pay respect to my mate.” Our Space Member
Rehearsals for Life Podcast
We are celebrating more than 10 years of the Our Space project with the release of a new podcast series – Rehearsals for Life.
This is a special five-part series interviewing practitioners and participants on the journey, process and impact of this first of its kind theatre-based project which uses drama as a tool to connect with others and develop skills.
Our Space Infographic
For World Mental Health Day, we released an infographic that showed the impact of Our Space. For 11 years Our Space has provided a creative sanctuary for those who reached out and took that first step with us. Watch the short minute clip on the right right to see the impact.
To all our past and present members, we say thank you for being with us and we look forward to the future with you. To those who are looking for someone to talk to; you are not alone, sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery.
When schools across the world were closed, our Young Company worked to battle the impact of isolation and anxiety on teenagers’ mental health – which also provided a space to express what the lockdown is like for them.
The Coronavirus Time Capsule is a week-by-week project created by London-based youth theatre, Company Three, and made available to groups of young people across the world. These groups create new videos every week responding to different topics linked to the lockdown.
Jane Pawson, Head of Learning at Theatre Royal Plymouth said: “We jumped at the opportunity to provide a positive challenge to our young people in this difficult time. For an hour a week, we can give the Young Company the chance to virtually meet, have fun, and be creative which can make a big difference to their wellbeing.
We have been continuing our Create sessions for young people who would benefit from additional support. These sessions are taking place online on TR3 and have been enjoyed by all participants who have taken part so far. We’re looking forward to continuing these sessions on throughout the year, with support from our Engagement & Learning team.
Why is YC Create so important?
We spoke to participant Tasmin (& her mum!) about what she enjoys about YC Create, and how keeping the sessions going online has helped her during the lockdown.
Dare to Dazzle
Dare to Dazzle is a drama group for children aged 7–11 from asylum-seeker, refugee or migrant backgrounds. We use drama to explore identity, improve confidence, integration and enhance language skills.
The children’s end of term showback was great, it has inspired me to create an assembly with my class next week celebrating some of the things that make us different.
Creative Care Packages
Our teams have been looking at ways we can still engage with our members during the time the theatre is closed. We have been looking at ways to stay connected and utilise technology, but we needed to consider that not everyone has access to the internet.During lockdown, we created and sent Weekly Creative Care Packages through the post to our Dare to Dazzle group.
Each package contained a weekly creative task, a practice creative resource, a weekly newsletter, a script extract and letters/notes as part of our Dare to Dazzle pen pal service.
In the Engagement & Learning team, we pride ourselves and our programmes on being accessible and inclusive. This difficult time has posed new challenges but we are thrilled to be able to continue to keep in touch with our group and make sure everyone is continuing to feel connected and happy.
The With Flying Colours project has been working in local schools in Devonport, Stonehouse, Keyham and Stoke to create new school plays and pop up performances. Due to the pandemic, the young people were unable to perform their work in a festival this summer. This website was created to showcase the creativity of the young people we’ve been working with. Professional artists have helped to reimagine the performance ideas into stories, audio experiences and films so that the young people and their communities can see their ideas brought to life.
In July 2020 we, as part of the Plymouth Cultural Education Partnership, were due to host the first With Flying Colours Festival, a celebration of new plays created by young people in schools across Devonport, Stonehouse, Stoke and Keyham. The pandemic meant that this festival was not able to go ahead as planned so instead, we have created a digital festival to celebrate the creativity of the young people we had been working with.
Professional artists have created a collection of films, audio pieces and stories inspired by the scripts created with the young people to give everyone involved and their communities the ability to experience their ideas come to life. The artists have also created a series of tutorial films to share some of their favourite exercises so that the young people and schools can continue to grow their creativity over the summer.
“If we did not know before how important the making of theatre was in our lives, how hard it is to be without it, we know now. But because we cannot perform or go to the theatre it does not mean it is denied to us. We can write, rehearse, sing, dance, and we can perform virtually. We can still tell our stories. Storytelling is at the heart of all theatre, and we can still do that.”
Michael Morpurgo, With Flying Colours Ambassador
Looking ahead to the future, With Flying Colours is a 3-year project so after this turbulent end to our first year we still have two more years of work to look forward to and plan for. For now, we hope you enjoy this digital festival.
TR3 is Theatre Royal Plymouth’s virtual creative network.
Here we can stay connected, stay creative and connect with each other, and our wonderful theatre. At TR3 you will discover what our teams are up to, get inspired by some fantastic creative initiatives, and hear from some of our friends across the industry.
We donated thousands of gloves, hundreds of facemasks and splash suits, protective equipment the teams would normally have used. We were delighted to be able to donate this essential kit to support our key NHS and care workers while our Theatre and workshops are closed.
Members of the TRP wardrobe team past and present have come together under the coordination of Cathy Tate to form the Plymouth branch of Helping Dress Medics (HDM). Find out more about how we’re helping the community by clicking the button below.
Without your support and your donation, we couldn’t continue this wonderful work for our community. Without shows and audiences, we have no income to help us bring theatre back to Plymouth.
We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, but if you can please make a donation to TRP today, we’ll be here for you once this is over.
Thank you, from the staff, artists and practitioners of Theatre Royal Plymouth.