OCTOBER: OUR LATEST UPDATE
The only way that we can start this update is with a huge THANK YOU. To those of you who have waived refunds and made donations and who have liked and shared social media posts and written emails with words of inspiration and reassurance: thank you all. It has been an unimaginably challenging 6 months for us – the shortest and the longest we’ve ever been through – and we have no doubt it will have been challenging for you too. We hope you’re doing as well as possible through this ongoing difficult time. We have been thinking of you all and missing the usual connections with our audiences and collaborators of all kinds. Not to mention the unforgettable theatrical moments and creative adventures we would have shared.
It is thanks to the generosity of all who have supported us, as well as the Job Retention Scheme and a grant in July from Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund, that Tobacco Factory Theatres is still here today. These vital lifelines have afforded us some breathing space to plan for the future.
It is of course very sad that autumn has come around and a busy theatrical season is not underway, but we have lots to share with you nonetheless.
One of our biggest concerns during this crisis has been the lost livelihoods of artists and other creative freelancers, on whom our city’s vibrant arts scene and theatres like ours rely. So we have been working alongside The Cube Microplex to distribute funds from the Gane Trust to freelance creative practitioners undergoing hardship. You can read more about the £65,000 distributed and its impact on recipients here.
Meanwhile we’ve been exploring ways to open our doors again. Many of our beautiful, inspiring spaces are now available to hire with every thought put into making our environment Covid-secure for visitors.
We’ve had detailed conversations with artists, our communities and our audiences about how we might welcome them back to experience our spaces again and how they might help us bring them back to life. Already we’ve been able to open our doors to artist Jenny Davies for a week’s residency in our Spielman Theatre: “I was buzzing with excitement about just being able to make something [following lockdown] and it ended up being one of the most useful research and development processes I’ve done!” And we’ll be offering more opportunities like this to local artists over the months ahead.
We’re also planning ahead to early 2021, when we intend our mission critical Get Involved programme will be back on its feet, once more encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to dive deeper, be curious and get creative. The performing arts have a unique power to enrich human connections and provide a vital expressive outlet – our Get Involved programme has never felt more important.
And what of shows? With the uncertainty we are all facing about local and national restrictions, and when it will be safe for social distancing to be lifted, it is clear that we will be unable to use our theatres at their full capacities until at least spring 2021. If you’re a ticket holder for a show which can’t go ahead for that reason, we’ll be in touch very soon to update you on your booking.
However, we hope to be able to welcome smaller, safely distanced audiences into our Factory Theatre before that time, and we are currently exploring creative solutions for achieving this, with your safety and enjoyment absolutely paramount.
It was a moment of great excitement when we recently announced our first new show since this crisis hit. Dot. Dot. Dot. is a brand new online performance by Daniel Kitson, and as we would expect from Daniel, it is a unique offering for these unparalleled times. He has written the show with the specific premise that it will be performed live in our empty theatre, and streamed online to the same number of people who would normally be sitting in front of him. Dot. Dot. Dot. runs from Thu 19 – Sat 21 November and has now sold out but do contact us to go on the waiting list.
We are also thrilled to be part of the acclaimed Michael Spicer’s next tour, with his Bristol performance on Wed 24 March 2021. Michael has developed a huge global following for his YouTube sensation The Room Next Door and we can’t wait to introduce Bristol to his brilliance! Keep your eyes peeled for an on-sale date soon.
Tobacco Factory Theatres continues to be a charity which relies on ticket sales, bar sales and donations to the tune of 95% of its income, in order to fulfil our mission to offer a welcoming home for creative adventures, human connection and learning. If you are in a position to help us in doing all of the above and more, please consider supporting us with a donation or by becoming a member. Thank you.
If you would rather make a donation over the phone please contact our Box Office on 0117 902 0344 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Box Office is open between 10am – 1pm from Monday – Friday.
Again, a huge thank you to all those who have already helped us make it this far. We genuinely couldn’t have done it without you. We look forward to sharing more plans with you very soon, so do keep an eye on our website and social media channels.
Mike Tweddle, Artistic Director
David Dewhurst, Acting Executive Director
Fri 09 October 2020
Posted on 09 October 2020