As you know, we have temporarily closed our building to play our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We have been adapting and changing the way we do things to try and continue helping our audiences, community, and colleagues. We wanted to give you all a very quick update about these changes.
Closure of the building
Regrettably, we have taken the decision to keep our building closed to the public until further notice. This means, all events scheduled this summer between 1st July – 31st August will be cancelled. It has not been an easy decision to extend our closure past 30th June, however the safety of our audiences, community and neighbours is of utmost importance.
Those who had booked tickets for events this summer have been informed of the cancellations and their refunds processed.
Stratford Arts Social: At Home
We have been working with artist Louisa Tock to bring regular arts activities online, in the form of short creative videos – Stratford Arts Social: At Home.
These videos are created to continue providing activities for our Stratford Arts Social participants, who usually met every Thursday morning in our building and attended big monthly arts events. This way we can continue to work with our participants, the majority of whom are aged 65 and over, and many of whom live alone and were facing some degree of social isolation, even before the social distancing measures were put in place. Our Creative Learning team are also continuously in touch with participants via email and phonecalls.
While created for our Stratford Arts Social participants, they are free to access by anyone and so can be enjoyed by all, including children (with supervision). You can find them here: stratford-circus.com/stratford-arts-social-at-home
As well as the video tutorials, we're also producing a PDF document which can be mailed or emailed to those members who are unable, or prefer not to, stream videos online. This document is also being shared with our referral partner organisations, some of whom are able to take physical copies of it to isolated members of the community without internet access.
Our resident choir made up of young people aged 10-18, who usually meet Tuesdays after school in our building to practice, have now brought their sessions online. They now meet on Zoom on Tuesdays to do vocal exercises, practise songs and learn new ones. We have updated our safeguarding policy to reflect these changes.
Blue Sky Actors
Our resident company of actors with learning disabilities and difficulties have been holding virtual meetings via Zoom every Saturday in place of their usual sessions. They are creating a radio play and a short film exploring their experiences of being in lockdown.
We’re still connecting schools with cultural partners in order for projects to continue being delivered. Some projects have been remodelled as online services, keeping the learning community engaged through digital platforms and providing support and planning for teachers and parents. The creative projects for students are also being delivered online in the form of home learning courses. We hope these courses will allow students to produce high quality art and provide a platform for them to practice physical and mental wellbeing.
Communicating with audiences
We have been in touch with everyone who had booked tickets to our events scheduled between 16th March – 31st August to inform them of cancellations – offering refunds, account credits, and the option to donate ticket prices to our organisation. We will continue to post across social media to keep everyone up to date about the work we are doing, the work our colleagues in the arts are doing around the UK, and of local initiatives happening in Newham.
Staff and how we work
Currently 7 full time members of staff have been furloughed as part of the government’s Job Retention Scheme, as well as an additional 16 part-time front of house staff. We now have a small team of 10, all of whom are working from home. If you would like to get in touch with the team, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support, and we hope to welcome you as soon as it’s safe to do so.