York Theatre Royal sets up Collective Arts to keep you busy, arty and digital at home

Let’s play: York Theatre Royal is encouraging theatre activities at home while everyone is in the grip of lockdown limbo

YORK Theatre Royal is to run the Collective Arts programme of “creative community engagement” during the Coronavirus pandemic shutdown. 

The St Leonard’s Place theatre is planning a series of digital activities and events to bring together York’s creative community of all ages until the building reopens.

Associate director Juliet Forster says: “We’re all finding the current circumstances challenging and are missing the joy of social gatherings, external stimuli and shared experience.

“But challenges can also be a great spur to creativity, and we’re really keen to find as many ways as possible to bring people together, to inspire creative responses and enjoy what we make together.”

Juliet Forster: York Theatre Royal associate director

One activity up and running already and open to all is the Lockdown Legends Challenge, a weekly creative project that invites people to submit responses to challenges such as filming one-minute plays (week one), designing costumes (this week) and creating production model boxes (coming next).

A new challenge is released every Monday morning on the theatre’s social media channels and submissions are then posted on these channels during the week.

The Theatre Royal is also adapting the delivery of the nationally recognised Arts Award, now to be undertaken from a home setting. The new guide is specially designed to be used by children and young people aged five to 25 years old, supported by their parents/guardians, to keep them busy, engaged and inspired by the arts at home. 

Another project aimed at engaging young people during this time is the Coronavirus Time Capsule. Working with a group of 20 young people, week by week the Theatre Royal will create a cumulative video time capsule, recording teenage experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic.

York Theatre Royal : Out of bounds but stretching the boundaries of theatre. Picture: Matthew Holland

“The Coronavirus Time Capsule is a new international project run by Company Three and youth theatres across the world will be taking part and making capsules of their own,” says Juliet.

In addition, the Theatre Royal is organising the In Focus photography competition, open to all ages and abilities who are invited to send in their photos that show the realities of life in Coronavirus Britain.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 8. All entries will then be judged by a team from the theatre’s photography group.

Over the next few weeks, York Theatre Royal will release more projects and opportunities to take part in. All details on how to be involved can be found on the theatre’s website, yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.