Voluntary Arts online network with the thematic focus of ‘Theatre’ run monthly as part of the wider #CreativeNetwork programme.

Open online conversations on the second Wednesday of the month, accessed via the 'Join' button on the main #CreativeNetwork webpage: www.voluntaryarts.org/creativenetwork

These will restart in the new year and continue to share blended practices and phased returns to performance; how the changing Government guidance* for performing arts is being negotiated by amateur and professional groups.

Between these Zoom sessions, you're welcome to join our Facebook group and attend other Creative Network sessions to keep sharing news, ideas and resources. To suggest a theme or for other comments and questions, please contact [email protected] 

Sessions during 2020:

Wednesday 11 November: Theatre of Sanctuary network, sharing their experience of providing welcoming theatre experiences for refugees and those seeking sanctuary, with:

  • Sam Slatcher, Sanctuary Voice Coordinator
  • Rosie Macpherson, Artistic Director, SBC Theatre, discussing creative outcomes, tools and resources being developed
  • Seb Aguirre, Ice & Fire, discussing the stories they share and recent work.

Wednesday 14 October: Sara Harrison (Engagement and Audiences / Theatre, Arts Council England) and Tony Childs, The People's Theatre discussing how non-professional theatre is continuing to connect members away from venue-based activity.

Wednesday 9 September: 
Malaika Cunningham and Linda Bloomfield of The Bare Project shared their experience of adapting their interactive theatre show for remote engagement. Preparing for the first national tour of The People’s Palace of Possibility when the pandemic hit, the creative team have blended forms to recreate the piece, while retaining its central themes, visible in the Palace Archive. Malaika has written for CUSP about the project.

Wednesday 12 August:
 Developing effective digital and outdoor practice, led by:

Wednesday 8 July: How professional and amateur theatre networks have adapted support and practices during the initial phases of lock-down, with:

  • Steph Meskell-Brocken, Chair, National Association of Youth Theatre (AD, Minerva Theatre) shared news about the networks suspension of membership fees, enabling more people to share in their resources, including online safe-guarding policies, and the regular NYATea, held every Monday to support youth theatre practitioners and sector survey to understand what families need to transition back.
  • Dale Freeman, CEO, National Operatic and Dramatic Association shared some of the regional support, digital reprogramming of conferences, AGMs and training - liaison with rights holders and the NODA insurance that has supported over 200 claims for cancelled performances. 
  • Ian Wainwright, Producer, Royal Shakespeare Company shared how the theatre’s community out- and in- reach has been affected by lockdown, the support for artists while working with 95% team on furlough (and in true lockdown style)  in parallel to overseeing a streamed production of ‘The Day the Crayons Went on Strike’ for Better Start Centres, performed by the actors preparing for RSC’s Spring/Summer production. 

We were joined previously by Charlotte Jones, CEO of the Independent Theatre Network

Links shared by other participants during sessions include:

Theatre Resources

Collective Encounters have been running training events and sharing resources via the Centre for Excellence in Participatory Theatre

Royal Shakespeare Company resources for practitioners

Outdoor Arts UK have resources including risk assessments available

Drama Groups website offers extensive listings of amateur groups operating across UK and internationally and other relevant information 

The Amateur Theatre Policy Briefing produced by the Amateur Drama Research project (funded by AHRC)

Theatre Networks

You can find other useful umbrella bodies on our listings page.

* Guidance from the devolved governments and arts councils of England (ACE), Ireland (ACI) and Northern Ireland (ACNI), Scotland (Creative Scotland) and Wales (CCC/ACW) are also being continually updated.