In the blink of an eye, it’s already September. Autumn is around the corner; the schools are back and we’re all taking tentative steps out of lockdown living. As a company, we’ve been busy since the onset of the global pandemic that has affected all our lives and decimated the theatre industry.
Over the last six months, we’ve weathered the cancellation of our tour of Alison Carr’s The Last Quiz Night on Earth, we’ve adjusted to the ‘new normal’ of remote working and we’ve watched with heavy hearts as friends and colleagues lose their jobs and much-loved venues close, perhaps for good.
In all that time, we’ve been running on reserves and laying the foundations for future theatre without government help or Arts Council Emergency Funding.
But Box of Tricks is still fighting and we’re still here. And whilst we may have postponed productions for 2020, we’ve reimagined how we can continue our mission to support Northern playwrights now and in the future and forged a sense of community at this time of crisis.
Here’s the low-down on what we’ve been up to:
~ We’ve launched our PlayMakers Network, an accessible, open-to-all resource for Northern writers to connect, collaborate and create;
~ We’ve delivered online Writing Masterclasses and Q&A sessions from leading playwrights to nearly 200 participants, creating a digital archive of online videos;
~ We’ve already supported and advised 14 theatremakers through one-to-one Creative Surgeries on a wide range of topics, from new writing to company structure;
~ We’ve matched 24 Northern writers in the first two cohorts of our newly-launched Pen Pals scheme with each writer developing a full-length script over six months with dramaturgical support from Box of Tricks;
~ We’ve received over 200 scripts through our open submissions windows for Pen Pals and PlayBox, and doubled down on our commitment to amplify underrepresented voices with the creation of a Positive Action Policy;
~ We’ve shared Kathy in Lockdown, our online epilogue to the cancelled The Last Quiz Night On Earth, reaching over 8,000+ people across our social media channels;
~ We’ve commissioned PlayBox alumnus Billie Collins to develop her bold and beautiful Too Much World at Once through our New Tricks programme for a future season.
But this is just the beginning. Playwrights are the heart of our all our plans as we build back better. All activities and events for our PlayMakers are completely free and open to everyone. We wouldn’t have been able to make that possible without the generous support of those who have already donated to the PlayMakers Fund launched back in July.
A donation today will directly support our work with the playwrights of tomorrow; so please consider making a regular donation. And pass it on: tell your friends, your neighbours and your work mates about the amazing work Box of Tricks does to champion new voices and untold stories and help us to deliver our work now and for many years to come.
We know that times are hard and that demand for money is high, but every donation – however large or small – goes directly to supporting new voices and the lifeblood of new plays. We’ve got big plans for 2021 and beyond and an exciting announcement coming your way in the next few weeks. Watch this space: we’re not going down without a fight!
If you’d like to join our growing network of Northern playwrights and theatremakers, sign up to the PlayMakers Network today.
Love and solidarity,
Box of Tricks