Coventry's Belgrade Theatre has announced a host of lockdown activities to help people stay connected during our shared isolation.
The announcement coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18-24).
The projects, aimed at bringing the community together and inspiring creativity, will form part of the theatre's Between Stages programme, which already includes a wide range of educational resources, videos, podcasts, blogs and shows to enjoy while the building itself remains closed during the lockdown.
The activities include #CityWarmUps, a series of videos that will be shared on the Belgrade’s website and social media at 8.30am every Monday, to help people get their week off to a happy and healthy start.
Each week, local creatives, including actors, singers, drama practitioners and dancers, will take audiences step-by-step through the warm-ups they use to prepare for workshops, shows and rehearsals. Viewers are encouraged to follow at home and share their thoughts and photos using #CityWarmUps.
The Belgrade's creative producer Hannah Barker said: “These sessions are aimed at warming up your body, mind and voice ready to tackle work, lessons, rehearsals or anything else you might be facing. We hope they will leave you feeling energised and focused, ready to start your week, as well as building a sense of community and camaraderie by bringing people together for a shared activity.”
Artists interested in getting involved in the project and sharing their own warm-ups should get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
Then on Monday evenings, a free online playreading group with be running via Zoom as part of Nick Hern Books’ national #NHBPlaygroup initiative. Every Wednesday, the publisher is making one of its extensive catalogue of plays free to read online for a week, before releasing a Q&A podcast with the writer.
Anyone interested in taking part in the online group will have the weekend to read through the plays online before collectively reading and discussing extracts via Zoom at 6pm on Wednesday evenings.
For more information, please visit the Belgrade Theatre’s Facebook page and check out the “Events” tab.
Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, Belgrade staff are working on ways of connecting creatively with their established community drama groups.
Launched on Tuesday, May 12, Telling Stories on (the Small) Screen will bring participants from the Belgrade’s various youth theatre groups together to explore how Zoom might be used as a medium for developing new creative work. This nine-week project will offer up to 20 participants the opportunity to learn about writing, acting and directing for the small screen, culminating in the creation and performance of a
piece of digital theatre.
In addition to all this is the previously announced Coronavirus Time Capsule project, which the Belgrade is running in partnership with local charity Grapevine.
Part of a national initiative started by London-based youth theatre Company Three, the Coronavirus Time Capsule provides a platform for teenagers to explore and share their experiences of lockdown through a series of videos published each week.
By the end of the
lockdown, they will have created a cumulative time capsule for anyone to watch – and for the participants to look back on and remember this extraordinary time.
For more information on all the projects and to stay up-to-date with the Belgrade Theatre’s online activities, visit its Between Stages hub at www.belgrade.co.uk/between-stages
Picture: One of the Belgrade's Youth Theatre projects - before the lockdown.