As soon as the Northcott closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we started exploring ways we could support local artists and inspire audiences with creative activity. Among other efforts, we put out an open call for commissioned work under the title The Time Is Now to any artist in the South West. Five artists and projects were selected to create a piece of work that people could enjoy remotely and that would speak to audiences specifically in this particular moment in time.
These are their projects.
BOOM! is in part a story about mental health that is set in the mind of a young woman, who has been through a traumatic experience and has something to say. It is uplifting, moving, profound and ultimately full of love, and expect to see a magical and celebrated key worker in it! The resulting short film has gone on to receive numerous rewards and accolades.
Jump Fall Fly use circus, theatre, strong visuals and film to capture the audience’s imagination and hopefully take them beyond the walls of lockdown.
Stories from the Sticks
Stories From the Sticks is a podcast that brings unheard stories from remote villages in the South West. Scratchworks Theatre has toured theatre shows to isolated communities across Devon for many years and the theatre-makers have met many wonderful characters along the way. City-dwellers themselves, Laura, Siân and Alice have always appreciated being welcomed into remote villages to hear stories of love, history, local myth and community spirit. The interviews are interwoven with original music by Jack Dean plus narration and singing in Scratchworks’ signature style giving a distinctly theatrical feel to the podcast.Listen to the podcast
Life In Suspension
“Since lockdown, I’ve had this weird sense of just hanging around. It feels like we’re all waiting for something. Whether it’s waiting for news, waiting for it to be safe or waiting to see each other again.” Launched with a film in which four artists share the similarities and difference of their suspension in lockdown, Life In Suspension invites people to share their own creative responses to what ‘hanging around’ means to them.
A project led by Hugh Malyon, a disabled artist and theatre-maker who finds creative ways to break down barriers through relatable, experimental performances.See community responses
These Three Worlds
These Three Worlds is an online adventure story that takes readers on a unique journey through Exeter. As with the popular ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books the quest is set in the first chapter and then the reader decides which page to turn to and their preferred destination. They must navigate their way through the city encountering strange characters, mysterious goings-on and an ever-growing network of secret routes through the story.
Burn the Curtain is a ‘hands-on’, site-specific theatre company in the South West – where audience and performers travel together, work together, and build the performance together.Play the game
When All This Is Over
Drawn from reflections on lockdown from people across the South West, When All This Is Over is sung by people across the region who have never met. More than 50 people responded to an open call to take part in the project, either by writing about their experiences of lockdown to inspire the lyrics or by joining the virtual choir and singing the anthem.
Thomas Johnson is a composer, musical director and musician. He has composed music for theatre companies and his music has been performed to audiences worldwide.
Kindly supported by the Noel Coward Foundation.