During the lockdown period with theatres closed, we have been keen to try and keep working with freelancers on creative projects to keep audiences engaged and entertained at home. From games to videos to audio projects, we have been trying to stay engaged with families and households across the UK.
We made an animated short called WHAT’S GOING ON, written by Megan Cronin, animated by Monica Leigh and voices by Stephen Mangan and Daisy Haggard. The video is aimed at children, explaining in a playful way why we’ve all had to stay inside. Check it out in Watch & Listen.
We also commissioned extraordinary poet Muneera Pilgrim to write and perform a piece inspired by themes of isolation. Check out her piece Reikihere. Muneera also provided some poetry exercises so that people could generate their own spoken word pieces at home!
Poetry writing exercise #1 from Muneera Pilgrim:
Think of a theme. Defining themes work well, for example love. Write a list of about 10-15 things that love is to you: they can be words, short sentences, phrases – but it has to be personal to you. If you get stuck, questions to think about include: how does it feel, smell, taste, sound, look? Is it real or imagined? Is it metaphorical? How does it make your body respond? Does anyone know? Is it a secret? Love is… sneaking a piece of jerk chicken out of the now browning dutch pot, yet knowing that if I was caught, it would be fine anyway.
Poetry writing exercise #2 from Muneera Pilgrim:
A) freewrite for 3 minutes: no over thinking! The only rule is don’t let your pen stop. B) then another freewrite, this time focused on how you are feeling at the moment – same timeframe, 3 minutes. C) write one more freewrite focused on a material or a texture, e.g. soft, furry, thatched – again you have 3 minutes. Read back your freewrites, and pick out the lines that resonate with you the most. Gather all of those lines and order them to make an abstract poem.
Poetry writing exercise #3 from Muneera Pilgrim:
Open up a poetry book at a random page, and without paying too much attention pick a line in the middle of the poem. That is the opening line of your poem! Give yourself 15 minutes to write the rest of it. If you get stuck, choose another line to add to your poem.
Then, to mark Shakespeare’s birthday, Digital Theatre+ made the ETT, Oxford Playhouse and Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory production of Othello available free on their educational platform as part of the second International Online Theatre Festival.
We asked some of our artists and audiences to tell us their desert island plays – five pieces of drama they would take with them on a desert island. We were delighted with the responses (and added quite a few things to our reading list!).
Keep an eye on Latest News and on our Social Media for more updates on the work we’re making while theatres are closed. For our full statement on the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here.