Here we can STAY CONNECTED, BE CREATIVE and SUPPORT 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.
Halfterm Fun - Tales of Light
The selection of stories old and new are available for free to watch at anytime. In part one, the North Wind and the Sun hold a competition to see who is stronger, a regal beagle meets a humble seagull and the Moon comes crashing down to Earth when captured! Watch parts two and three for more magical storytelling.
Tales of Light will bring you a glimmer of hope, a flicker of creativity and a little bit of light in this dark period, and we hope you enjoy the show. Keep a look out on tallstories.org.uk/at-home if you’d like to see more, Tall Stories will release more tales from their talented actors soon!
We need your help to keep the magic of theatre alive in Plymouth and to support our regular workshops for the local community.
What we're doing to help out...
We heard the call and we acted on it! TRP donated personal protective equipment to help support NHS Devon and care workers in our local community
Our core staff are still working hard to keep the theatre safe and ready throughout this period but our manufacturing teams at TR2 have had to stop working on new shows.
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.
Our shows can’t go on at the moment, and we were really pleased to be able to help the true stars of the moment, those NHS and care staff in Plymouth and across Devon working tirelessly to keep us all safe.
Helping Dress Medics
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).
They have been making high standard hospital scrubs for the last 7 weeks. Supplying Torbay Hospital, Tavi-side Health Centre and other medical staff in Saltash and Plymouth.
Those without work rooms have set up a wardrobe space, working from their dining tables to help this worthy cause. Becky Stephens, Pippa Reece, Claire Mashford, Delia Lancaster, Julia Herdman, Dina Hall and Jane Briars make up the amazing workforce.
Across the nation many other costume makers, stitchers, supervisors and designers are working away on this project.
HDM was set up by Costume Supervisor Dulicie Scott who was working on His Dark Materials before the lockdown. To find out more about the scheme click here.
With our staff meeting cancelled at the beginning of the nationwide lockdown and our staff working from their new at home locations, TR3, we were able to donate all the handmade sandwiches that were prepared for our staff. The amazing Shekinah and The George Hostel were thrilled with the donation, both of whom provide opportunities for people in recovery or seeking recovery from homelessness, alcohol and drug issues, offending behaviours and mental ill health.
Getting to bring all the TRP family together for our Annual Staff Meeting is always a special occasion for us, and despite the sadness of not being able to come together before we entered lockdown it was a real pleasure to be able to donate those delicious sandwiches to two charities in Plymouth who are continuing to serve the community throughout these difficult times.
Plymouth's personal experience of the pandemic
We asked our local community about their experiences during the pandemic. What had shocked or frustrated them? What positive opportunities had it created? What did they miss most during lockdown? And this is what they said…
During these difficult times 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 sessions have really been lifting everyone’s mood, and we have now been able to provide a digital space using Basecamp for creative exchanges in between sessions which has created a wonderful sense of community and a creative hub with people sharing and uploading poetry, writing, photos, videos, drawings and songs on a daily basis. Some feedback we have had from participants includes:
It’s great fun, makes you feel like a child again. It has lifted my mood.
This is a natural antidepressant.
What’s actually exciting about lockdown is it’s making us think differently and getting people like me used to technology.
It’s good, definitely been good for me so far.
In March 2020 as the world ground to a halt, the Our Space programme transitioned, like so many, to an online existence, as they sought to stay connected and creative in lockdown.
They experimented with many kinds of games and exercises along the way, but what began to burn most brightly in the sessions was the weekly free-writing where they witnessed each other’s highs and lows and throughout the year, they wrote it all down.
Lost and Found is a small selection of what turned up on the page – raw and, for the most part, unedited. Proud of what was collectively achieved, Lost and Found is a fitting tribute to the journey through 2020 with an extraordinary group of people.
Sara Rhodes, Engagement Manager at Theatre Royal Plymouth said: “In an extraordinary year, where so many felt isolated and disconnected, Our Space provided a digital space for members to meet, share their highs and lows of lockdown and have a creative outlet, which mainly came in the form of free-writing. Lost and Found is a beautiful tribute to the incredible talent and creativity of this amazing group of people.”
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. This group group offers people a place to build skills and friendships, and we are committed to making sure that we can continue to provide this and our support.
Poems & Songs by Our Space participants
GROW Care Packages
We have worked with Little Green Window to provide plant-growing care packages to Our Space members. These packages include packets of microgreen seeds, planting trays, soil, measuring beakers, instructional booklet, and recipes! Plus, we added in personalised postcards from our workshop practitioners Jade and Lee. Our Spaces members have loved them and have started using what they have grown already! A big thank you to Marie and everyone at Little Green Window for providing these wonderful packages.
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 continue these sessions on throughout lockdown, with support from our Engagement & Learning team.
Why is Young Company 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 lockdown.
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.
So for the past few weeks we have been sending Weekly Creative Care Packages through the post to our Dare to Dazzle group.
Each package contains 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.
We led our first Zoom workshop for the programme last week which went really well. The care packages have had some amazing feedback and are keeping everyone busy and connected.
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.
Family Board Game
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.
Talking about how the world has become so much more accessible now that it has been forced to, with virtual tours online, free theatre streams and so much more. There is hope that thinking in a more far reaching and accessible way will continue after this challenging period is over.
We are in the process of setting up a weekly creative session for all our members on Zoom and we can’t wait to share how the first session goes in the coming weeks.
Hello, my name is Olivia Frost and I am 24 years old. I have been part of Funky Llama for about four years now, my involvement is broad, but I mainly like to get involved in doing access audits for venues in Devon and Cornwall. I have taken part in many workshops provided by Funky Llama to help develop my teaching skills so that I can teach and mentor others in my group.
I am very passionate about getting the word out and raising awareness about disability. I see disability as an advantage, as for me it means I have an ability to do things differently to others. I want to remove the stigma that disabled people “can’t do things”.
Funky Llama has helped me to grow as a person living with a new disability, showing me many positive avenues and pathways.
We have such a fantastic range of people in the Funky Llama steering group!
During lockdown we have taken part in activities through meetings each week on Zoom where we spend about an hour checking in, taking part in creative and thinking exercises and working on a plan for a project to give others an insight into ways they can cope whilst in isolation. We are also planning to host our own quiz and bingo socials for Funky Llama members over the next few weeks!
Many members of Funky Llama have spent years in isolation due to our disabilities and the lack of accessible opportunities, this is a big thing for me and Funky Llama is helping to change this, but I see the lockdown as an opportunity for the rest of the world to learn from this time and think about access differently in the future.
We are staying connected with the wonderful artists and practitioners in Plymouth through digital meetings, mentoring and remote support. We’ve been chatting to companies about new ideas and supporting local playwrights with feedback. We continue to work with our Lab Company through an online programme of workshops and mentoring.
Whether you are new to our programme or know us well, we are here for you. To arrange a remote meeting please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support for self-employed & freelance makers
TRP has added its name to a group of UK theatres and organisations who are joining together to create a national task force which will amplify the voice of the self-employed in conversations about our industry’s future. We recognise that many freelancers face real uncertainty about if and how they will be able to continue to work in theatre.
To help establish the task force, each organisation will support a freelancer to join the group, ensuring they are paid for their time. If you are a self-employed or freelance theatre or performance maker – whether you are an actor, playwright, director, choreographer, stage manager, designer, stage crew worker, or set builder (to name a few) – we would like to invite you to be a part of this task force.
Freelance Task Force – Recruitment Transparency Account
70% of the theatre/performance workforce is self-employed or freelance, therefore our collective goal was to get the task force up and running as quickly as possible to ensure better freelance and self-employed representation at a national level as soon as possible.
In order to operate quickly, each organisation would take an individual approach to identifying a freelancer best suited to their situation and region. Some companies have recruited via an open call, others worked with freelancers to elect a representative and some approached freelancers directly to offer the position.
We felt it essential to try to ensure we achieve as much representation across the task force as possible and did so through monitoring our collective recruitment using a shared tracker document.
It is likely that, owing to the speed of this process, there will be gaps in the representation we achieve. We aim to fill these gaps and, once the task force is up and running, we will ask for their ideas about how we can continue to improve this.
How TRP Found A Freelancer
As a significant proportion of staff are furloughed meaning very reduced capacity , TRP took the decision to approach a freelancer directly. We felt that the freelancer we approached had to:
- Be meaningfully connected to the theatre but objective enough to ensure autonomy and independence
- Have a portfolio of work which demonstrates a deep understanding of the freelance ecology in Plymouth and the far South West
- Be well connected in the region with the ability to build new relationships and represent the industry across multiple disciplines
- Be currently underrepresented based on the tracker, at the time of selecting
We acknowledge that our approach is far from perfect and want to be transparent about the successes and failures of this initiative along the way. We remain open to ideas and provocations. This is an experiment, and we are learning every day.
We want to listen and learn from you. Please share any feedback and questions you might have using social media using #FreelanceTaskForce or emailing us at email@example.com
Graeae: Making One Under
Through this three part documentary, Theatre Royal Plymouth follows Graeae Theatre Company as they create their production One Under. Theatre Royal Plymouth gives you a glimpse of this remarkable company’s work towards a more inclusive, more diverse environment in theatre and the arts, the bright future ahead and its rich creative potential.
Featuring Jenny Sealey MBE – Artistic Director and CEO of Graeae Theatre Company; Writer, Winsome Pinnock – described as “the Godmother of black British playwrights” and the first black British female writer to have a play produced by the National Theatre; Director, Amit Sharma – deputy Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre who also directed TRP’s hit co-production by Jack Thorne, The Solid Life of Sugar Water; and our very own Wardrobe Manager and Costume Supervisor, Delia Lancaster.
This series is a Theatre Royal Plymouth and Graeae co-production directed & produced by our Assistant Director, Freddie Crossley, and filmed & edited by award-winning, Deaf filmmaker Bim Ajadi.
We’ve collated resources from some of our favourite theatres and companies across the country to support teachers and home learning. Here you will find resource packs, activities, links to live theatre shows you can watch at home and information about careers in theatre.