This world theatre day – Sat 27 March 2021 – is a bittersweet one. A year ago last week we announced our ‘making theatre for extraordinary times’ fund, after theatres and performance venues across the country shut their doors and were left in a period of continuing uncertainty.
The recipients of the extraordinary times fund were able to continue creating and reaching audiences through multiple lockdowns, and we saw community gatherings and displays, at-home creative kits for school children and outdoor performances made for local communities.
It really demonstrated to us just how important theatre is, not only to individuals, but to the places in which we live.
This world theatre day, we are happy to announce the ‘Our Towns’ commissions, a selection of projects created by theatre makers for and with small towns across the South East.
In Staines, Circle of Two theatre company will create ‘The Not So True Guided Tour of Staines’ where audiences are guided by an eccentric bard through their town streets.
In Whitstable, theatre maker Sadie Hennessey will host ‘Blessing of the Beasts’, where the residents of Whistable and their pets will take part in a seafront celebration of the animals who have provided such valuable companionship to us over the pandemic.
In Faversham, Circo Rum Ba Ba will create highly visual theatre inside Empty Shop Windows, infusing the high street with new excitement.
In Maidstone, Darren Clark with Parkwood Theatres and New UK Musicals will be staging a new musical ‘Ordinary People’, based on stories collected from the people of Maidstone, to be performed at Hazlitt Theatre.
In High Wycombe, we will collaborate with Wycombe Museum on their Windrush Legacy exhibition, using storytelling and theatre to share some of High Wycombe’s hidden histories.
In Manningtree, the Grand Theatre of Lemmings will make a performance visible by port-hole in a shop window, telling the true story of a deep-sea diver who gets entangled in debris.
In addition to the Our Towns commissions, we are supporting PROJEKT EUROPA's collaboration with the Marlowe Theatre entitled WE ARE THE STORIES - three projects by prominent migrant theatre makers, made for and with the local communities in Canterbury and Kent.
And back at the Maltings, we’re looking to the future with hope, and we will soon be reopening the building.
Our plan is to reopen for community from Monday 12 April, to host our maltings monthly market on Saturday 01 May and to begin to reintroduce our own programme from Monday 17 May, albeit at 50% capacity.
Happy world theatre day, and we can’t wait to see you soon.
Photography Hanna Jedrosz. Copyright @ RSC