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Online playreading group expands to keep more adults connected and entertained during lockdown

Press Release: 19th January 2020


With the latest UK lockdown meaning people are once again finding themselves socially isolated, disconnected from others and struggling to keep occupied, Dramatis Community Drama School has expanded its much-loved online playreading group to provide a wider variety of plays, dates and times so more adults can participate.

When lockdown was first announced back in March 2020, Dramatis was quick to adapt its programming and move to a virtual format. As part of its new digital offering, Dramatis launched ‘Wine and Wilde’ online playreading sessions.

This affordable online activity (which brought people together via Zoom sessions to read through an Oscar Wilde play) had such an overwhelming response, that Dramatis has expanded it for 2021. The new Plays and Pinot format provides participants with a larger range of plays from different playwrights as well as a wider selection of dates and times.

Plays and Pinot is ideal for adults who are interested in the literary classics but keen to explore them in a new way. The lowpressure environment means it is also perfect for those who are unfamiliar with acting; as there are no lines to learn, and no stages to perform on! Participants are pre-assigned characters in scenes from a play which they then read through together as a small group. In keeping with the informal nature of the group, participants are encouraged to bring along a glass of wine or alternative beverage of choice for a de-brief afterwards.

As Janet, one of the attendees, explains: “I was hesitant at first as I’m quite self-conscious, but I had so much fun!”. Marty, another attendee, adds “It’s been great to meet new drama lovers and have some social interaction to look forward to during lockdown” while Mandy says, “Everybody’s really friendly and supportive”. Whilst Dramatis is Sussex based, and so normally focuses on bringing the communities of Bognor Regis and Chichester together, the online Plays and Pinot group means adults from across the UK (including Liverpool and Eastbourne) have been able to join in too.

Dramatis Principal, Suzy Duxbury, adds: “it’s been a pleasure to welcome so many adults to our online playreading sessions since lockdown began and we’re excited to now expand the programme and utilise the power of drama to help more people through this difficult time”.

The first block of Plays and Pinot (A Country Wife) is already sold out but there are spaces available for upcoming sessions which include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pride and Prejudice, Heartbreak House, Lady Windemere’s Fan and What Every Woman Knows.

About Dramatis

Dramatis is the drama school with a heart for all ages! The Sussex based, multi-generational drama school provides drama fun for all ages. Dramatis views its pupils and participants as part of an extended family, and as such believes that nurturing their unique qualities, developing their social skills and having fun are just as important as improving their acting abilities. Founded by Suzy Duxbury ATCL, an experienced Trinity and LAMDA teacher, the Youth Drama programme is carefully structured to get the best out of pupils’ natural talents while the Adult Drama programme offers participants a low-pressure environment to explore their inner thespian!

Plays and Pinot (Upcoming Sessions)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (starts Tues 19th Jan)

Pride and Prejudice (starts Weds 20th Jan)

Heartbreak House (starts Thurs 11th Feb)

Lady Windemere’s Fan (starts Tues 23rd Feb)

What Every Woman Knows (starts Thurs 4th Mar)

Price: £20 (per block of four sessions)

For further information, images or videos, please contact Maddy on madeleineduxbury@hotmail.com


Posted on 20/01/2021

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FIRST CUT 2021 Film Festival to encourage diversity in Filmmaking at FLAME UNIVERSITY!

Posted by Editor Deepak Sinha

What's so cool about the FIRST CUT 2021 FILM FESTIVAL at FLAME UNIVERSITY is, the festival wants you to use all the small and big equipment you have, to make stories. Be it mobile phones, DSLR or story-boarding, animations. FIRST CUT 2021 in collaboration with the FIRST CAT brings a curation of films from around the world, to bring out the curiosity in your stories!

Read more: www.rasaaurdrama.com

Posted on 10/01/2021

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Comic Relief Panto – Christmas Greetings

Dear All,

What a strange year it’s been – so difficult for so many sectors and an absolute disaster for live theatre!

But it’s Christmas – and so even if it’s over Zoom and not quite as we planned - I hope you all find some Christmas cheer – and even more importantly a much improved New Year!

So very few pantos have been able to happen this year, but I’m delighted to say that Comic Relief asked me to provide the Cinderella script on which their writers, the Dawson Brothers, have based their star studded Christmas Eve panto. It’s on BBC 2 at 8.15 and I can’t wait to see it!

Academy Award winning acting royalty Olivia Colman (The Crown, Fleabag, The Favourite) will be making her panto debut as Fairy Godmother and will be joined by an all-star cast that includes Guz Khan (Man Like Mobeen, Four Weddings and a Funeral) as Buttons, Tom Hollander (About Time, Baptiste, The Night Manager) as Baron Hardup, Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech, The Crown, Les Misérables) as Lady Devilia and actual real life sister and brother Daisy May and Charlie Cooper (This Country) as The Evil Step Sisters amongst many, many more.

So, I hope you will be joining me for the panto on Christmas Eve, giving generously and starting to think about next year’s panto season, which will surely be the most anticipated in living memory!

And with this mind, if you fancy a little light reading, do check out my scripts below.

Panto Scripts

Have a good Christmas and the happiest New Year for many a year!


Posted on 20/12/2020

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Use Tix to Incorporate Social Distancing Into Your Venue

The Tools to Safely Maximize Your Venue's Seating Capacity

Since its inception our Social Distancing option has been a game-changer for those organizations offering reserved seating and looking for a way to safely fill their venue. Our innovative social distancing feature allows you to continue selling tickets to your reserved seating events, while providing your patrons with a physical buffer that will give them peace of mind, and allow them to enjoy the event. It will also help your organization adhere to governmental regulations and other public safety measures put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.


When enabled, Tix uses a custom algorithm to automatically hold a configurable number of seats on either side of your patron’s selected seats. As other patrons purchase tickets, the seats that are set aside for social distancing will be denoted as being Reserved for Social Distancing so that it is clear to those purchasing tickets that there will be space between them and other patrons.
• You control the number of seats you wish to leave between groups of patrons
• You can change the buffer from performance to performance
• You can adjust the buffer as needs and safety guidelines evolve
• You can use this feature for online and box office ticket sales
Our goal is to increase the safety and comfort level of your patrons and reduce the workload and maximize revenue for the organizations like yours.

Learn More

Complementary to your ability to incorporate social distancing in your seating charts is your ability to set a cap on the number of tickets you wish to sell to your reserved events. So, for example, if you have a venue that seats 500 patrons, but your current COVID-19 guidelines dictate that you can only sell to a 50% occupancy, you would set your cap to 250. Once that cap is reached, no additional tickets for your event can be sold.

The net affect of using this setting, and doing so in combination with our existing social distancing seating chart option, is that you can still offer reserved seating, and patrons can still select their seats, all while abiding by your current COVID-19 guidelines for social distancing and event capacity.

Tix has helped thousands of organizations sell millions of event tickets. We welcome the opportunity to bring success to your organization, too.

Contact us today!

Posted on 26/11/2020

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Box Office Radio

Box Office Radio

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Great news for musical theatre fans!

At last, there's some good news for musical theatre fans...Box Office Radio is now live!

We're the UK's fastest growing radio station, exclusively playing music from 'Stage & Screen' all day, every day.

With the best West End and Broadway show tunes, you'll love our live presenters, the huge variety of music and no adverts!

We're now available online, on your mobile and on your smart speaker.

Posted on 28/10/2020

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Cinema and multi-plexes are re-opening from tomorrow with strict measures to public safety. Auditoriums are yet to start functioning. A new theatre venue like THE BOX has come up. It is helping is theatre groups to record and stream their plays online. There is no activity yet at venues like Sudarshan Rangmanch, Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir, The Monalisa Kalagram, Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha. Online theatre platforms like OMT ( Online Mazha Theatre ), Priyadarshi Academy, Gyaan Adab Centre is live streaming play readings to keep the energy engaged. Priyadarshi Academy last month organized online speech classes. Aasakta Kalamanch this weekend streamed the new play The COLOUR OF LOSS. Ticketkhidakee.com a new ticketing platform for the theatre is streaming digital theatre the world over. The Company Theatre workspace in Kamshet opened a small site-specific play on its lush theatre research laboratory. Pune Theatre Guide completed two events of the Young Theatre Director's Talk. Pushkar Rangmanch is planning a production! Rangaii Theatre performed GARGIKAND over the weekend. IAPAR has been doing online talks and dance workshops. What we saw is more of discussions about meta-theatre or discussions around the theatre. Theatre practitioner Hina Siddiqui is taking writing workshops! The Box has certainly set a precedent in the city with slowly-reopening. Slowly re-opening performances around a venue in a part of the city with correct leadership to handly sanitization may help us all. Also, attaching in this week's newsletter a video made by a theatre group MA-YI Theatre Company. Originally a theatre company but they have also opened their own studio for production and rental. Have a lovely week ahead!

Deepak Sinha

Rohini Hattangadi who played 'Kasturba' in iconic film 'Gandhi' reads extracts on the Mahatma!
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Reading the poems of Daagh Dehlvi at The Yellow Room Poet's Club!
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Rahmaniyat: The essence of A R Rahman!
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Sophocles in State Island film by Ma-Yi Theatre Company!
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Posted on 15/10/2020

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Northern Ireland Assembly - plans for a Youth Assembly

We are contacting all youth and third sector organisations on the Assembly Outreach team’s database who work with young people 14-25 years of age.
Did you know that the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly has announced plans for a Youth Assembly?

What is a Youth Assembly?

The Youth Assembly is exactly that… an Assembly for Youth - a platform designed to be used by young people to have their voices heard. The core age range of the members will be 13 to 17, but there will be an upper age limit of 21 to ensure diverse representation. The Youth Assembly will provide young people with direct access to the decision-makers at the heart of our democracy.
Just as with the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Youth Assembly will have 90 members. It will hold committee meetings to deal with specific issues, sessions will be presided over by the Speaker, and debates will most likely take place in the Assembly Chamber in Parliament Buildings.

What’s happening now?

The Youth Assembly is still at a very early stage – a lot of details still need to be ironed out, but that’s on purpose! We want young people to help shape and develop how the Youth Assembly will work, what issues it will deal with, and how.
Young people in Northern Ireland will be the driving force behind how the Youth Assembly is established and developed. The idea for a Youth Assembly here has been in development for some time. We’ve looked at other youth forums and spoken to people involved in the youth sector and voluntary and community groups about how it will work. But, in order to help shape the Youth Assembly’s work, we really need young people to get involved.

Get involved!

The first step is to get yourself on our mailing list and we’ll keep you updated on everything you need to know. Check out the web page and sign up http://nia1.me/467 here.

You can also follow us on social media:

We’d love to hear from you!

Youth Assembly Team

Posted on 08/10/2020

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New channel for Actors-The Actors Channel on YouTube!

New Channel for Performers and Actors - The Actors Channel on YouTube! Theatre Fans, Acting Lessons, Broadway Dancers...

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Posted on 07/10/2020

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Thespo stream online plays this October: Cheeni Kam, Stories Zyaada!

Mumbai young theatre and THESPO go hand in hand. THESPO has been a student driven festival doing events at Prithvi t...

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Posted on 05/10/2020

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COVID-19 Government Guidance What you can and can't do - FAQ
2.10 When can I gather in groups of more than 6?

If you live in a household with more than 6 people, you can continue to gather in and attend all settings together. This same applies for your support bubbles. All venues should continue to accomodate groups larger than 6 who live together or are in the same support bubble to gather in and use their services and venues.

There are exceptions where groups can be larger than 6 people, including:

- for work, or the provision of voluntary or charitable services
- registered childcare, education or training
- supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
- providing support to a vulnerable person
- providing emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm
- to continue existing arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents
- fulfilling a legal obligation such as attending court or jury service
- weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions – up to 30 people, in a public place
- funerals – up to 30 people. This does not include wakes, other than for religious ceremonial purposes.
- other religious and belief-based life cycle ceremonies – up to 30 people, in a public place. This only covers the ceremonies, and does not include celebrations of these events.
- organised sport or exercises classes or licensed outdoor physical activity. This does not include informal sport or fitness activity with family or friends – this must be limited to a group of 6.
- elite sporting competition and training
- support groups – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, recovering addicts, new parents, people with long-term illnesses, those facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.
- protests – if organised in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance

Where a group includes someone covered by one of these exemptions, they are not counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, that a tradesperson can go into a household of six without breaching the limit if they are there for work.

See the full article from GOV.UK here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Posted on 15/09/2020

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Stage shows will not be affected by new government rules except where audience groups are above six

Indoor and outdoor shows can still go ahead as they adhere to safety rules

New changes to lockdown rules, meaning social gatherings of more than six individuals are illegal, will not affect theatre programming in England.

As long as shows are put on within organised and Covid-secure event spaces, such as theatres, these new rules should not impact any scheduled performances. According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson there is only one difference – "there must not be individual groups of more than six" (though single households with more than six individuals are exempt).

Many organisations and theatres already prevent bookings with groups of more than six, so these will not be affected. Venues will now be legally required to retain and record test and trace details as and when needed. There will be "marshals" to make sure these rules are put in place. Plans to pilot larger audiences in venues imminently have been put on hold.

See the full article from WHATSONSTAGE here https://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/news/stage-shows-will-not-be-affected-by-new-government_52363.html

Posted on 11/09/2020

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Comment from Sara Fensome sarafensome73@gmail.com 11/09/2020

Please can you confirm if this also applies to amateur dramatic groups who put on shows in schools and halls.

Peter's Response:
Hi Sara,

My understanding is that as long as your hall/school is COVID secure and that you observe social distancing at all times shows can go ahead. The operative phrase here is that “there must not be individual groups of more than six” meaning that social distancing in your audience may allow groups of up to six people to sit together but that group must be socially distanced from the rest of the audience.

If you take a look at the #NoticeBoard section of www.dramagroups.com you will find links to the Government website giving guidance for people who work in performing arts throughout the UK, this includes arts organisations, venue operators and participants.

I hope that helps although I should add that I am in no way an expert in these matters you should read the government guidance for yourself and talk with the people responsible for the operation of your venue.

Best Wishes,






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Author Nanda Pavaday on love of Writing, Life and Travel!

Author Nanda Pavaday is Mauritius based writer and columnist.
He writes in French and English. His first book "Tales of Simpler Times" is a story about nostalgia, times gone by ,and the good old vibes of childhood, love, thought, humour. His words are a joy.

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Posted on 12/09/2020

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TicketSource Ltd

TicketSource Ltd

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COVID-19: 12 Features for Safer AMDRAM Performances

Discover TicketSource's key system features to enable safer events that keep in line with government guidelines and restrictions surrounding COVID-19.

As the Government continues to loosen the restrictions on events and attractions, it's more important than ever to ensure customers' safety while making these tentative first steps towards normality.

Fortunately, TicketSource is much more than just a ticketing platform and provides event organisers with many of the tools needed to keep their customers informed.

Social Distancing
Advanced Online Ticketing
Dynamic Social Distancing on Seating Plans
Time Slot Ticketing
Exclusive Telephone Box Office Service
Etickets and Scanned Entry
Advanced Sundry Item Sales
Online Events
Booking Confirmations
Customisable T&Cs and Additional Information
Mandatory Questions & Agreements
Contact Customers
Track & Trace
Record ALL Attendees Details

Sell your show tickets online
Sign and set up an online box office for any event in any venue within minutes.
Try it Free www.ticketsource.co.uk/signup

Posted on 28/08/2020

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Government guidance has been updated to allow singers to be distanced less than three metres apart in light of a study that found singing carried no more risk than talking, with @SOLTnews and @uk_theatre welcoming the findings as “very significant”.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has amended the previous three-metre social distancing rule. It now states that two-metre social distancing is encouraged for singers and wind and brass musicians wherever possible.

Where this is not possible, performers can continue with ‘one-metre-plus’ mitigations to limit the risk of transmission, which include using back-to-back or side-to-side positioning and regular Covid-19 testing.

SOURCE: The Stage see the ful article here www.thestage.co.uk/news/news/dcms-reduces-social-distancing-requirement-for-singers-in-light-of-study

Posted on 25/08/2020

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Banbury Cross Players

Banbury Cross Players

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PRESS RELEASE – 19/08/2020

What a strange year 2020 has turned out to be! We hope you and your families are keeping well. As promised, we now have further news regarding BCP activity.

In light of the continuing uncertainty regarding indoor performances, BCP have, sadly, decided not to go ahead with the production of The Thrill of Love in November 2021. Rest assured, we are 100% committed to presenting this extraordinary play and we will be rescheduling as soon as is appropriate. For those of you who had booked tickets, The Mill staff will be contacting you to arrange a refund as we are not able to confirm, at this stage, when it will be scheduled for.

At present, BCP are anticipating presenting The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband in February 2021, and our One Act Drama Festival in June 2021. Our May 2021 production is yet to be decided. We have a Director in place and they, together with BCP’s Play Selection team, are currently working hard on the search for a suitable play. We will announce details as soon as we have them.

BCP are in regular contact with management at The Mill Arts Centre with regards to their re-opening plans, and we look forward to being back in our theatrical “home” as soon as we can. BCP Members past and present continue to stay in touch with a weekly chat on Zoom on a Tuesday evening at 7.15pm. If you’d like to join in, please email us for details.

We will continue to update you as and when we have new information. Details will also be available on our website and Facebook and Twitter pages.

For any Gold Card Holder queries, please contact jeremyt774@aol.com. For all other enquiries, please email contactus@banburycrossplayers.org.uk.

Kind Regards

Liz Riley

Posted on 19/08/2020

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The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company

The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company

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South Devon Players Virtual Season

PRESS RELEASE – 28/ 07/ 2020

Internationally award-winning Brixham theatre company announce an autumn “virtual season” of plays with an international team of actors and writers

The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company, remain active through the Covid crisis, creating virtual theatre productions, as well as planning for the future.

This “virtual autumn season” is a response to the Covid19 restrictions on performing traditional venue-based theatre. While the Players hope very much to return to normal theatre performance as soon as practicalble and safe for both cast and crew, in line with the current government guidance, they feel it very important to keep working and creating in the intermin.
For the time being therefore, the Players have moved into cyberspace, with actors and crew joining us on screen from their home studios, in the UK, USA, and Ireland, rehearsing and performing online, where audiences all over the world can access the performance, and the cast & crew can earn equal shares of whatever is made from the online performances ticket sales.
For our online season, we have teamed up with three new writers; Ashley Griffin, Germaine Shames, and Rachel O'Neill
Broadcasts of the plays will be ticketed events, via a link to a hidden area of our .com website, provided to ticket buyers at the time of ticket purchase. Tickets will be sold via our website box office, linked to our ticketsource account.

The first play, due at the beginning of October, explores the power and importance of storytelling, Snow (a new play by US writer Ashley Griffin, creator of the pop culture phenomenon Forever Deadward, and the first person ever nominated for a major award for both playing and directing Hamlet,) follows three disparate storylines that all revolve around the fairy tale Snow White. Utilizing a structure similar to Cloud Atlas and The Hours, six actors playing multiple roles tell the stories of the Grimm Brothers (who originally collected and published the classic fairy tale), the Campbells (a Victorian theatrical family whose lives begin to mirror Snow White), and modern day Astrid (a young woman who, after her abusive mother puts her in a coma, must decide whether or not to wake up). Incorporating aspects of American Gods, and classic storytelling techniques a la Peter and the Starcatcher, Snow is a dark and moving play that mines our storytelling traditions both in style and subject matter. SNOW received three NYITA nominations and was performed off Broadway in NYC and developed at Playwrights Horizons.

The second play, due at the end of October, is The Lost Girl by Germaine Shames, based on the eponymous novel by D.H. Lawrence.
Alvina Houghton, the headstrong daughter of a widowed Midlands draper, comes of age just as her father’s business is failing. In a desperate attempt to regain his fortune and secure his daughter’s proper place in society, James Houghton buys a theatre. Among the travelling performers he employs is Ciccio, a sensual Italian who immediately captures Alvina’s attention. A celebration of freedom, however fleeting, and a testament to the power of the imagination to transform even the most mundane life. The script has been vetted by international D.H. Lawrence scholar, Catherine Brown. Jessica Levinson Young, Artistic Director of Untold Theatre, writes, “I absolutely loved this script for The Lost Girl. It has incredible pace and the dialogue simply leaps off the page!" . The script won Starlight Theater's 2019-20 Playwriting Award . Another of Germaine's D.H. Lawrence adaptations, THE VIRGIN and the GYPSY, received a reading at the 2018 Festival of New American Theatre.

Then comes Sir Walter's Women, a play written by Rachel O'Neill, for 2Time Theatre in Winchester.
This is a one-act drama that reimagines the life of the charismatic poet, pirate and son of Devon, Sir Walter Raleigh. The play looks at his relationships with the two most important women in his life; one domestic with his wife Bess Throckmorton, and the other political as he manoeuvres his status as a favourite of Elizabeth I to satisfy his political ambitions. His great error is marrying Bess in secret, to the great and lasting displeasure of the Queen. The play ends with Sir Walter's incarceration, trial and execution. Rachel’s plays, Tilly and The Spitfires and The Fasting Girl have had rehearsed readings at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton and her most recent work, Eager for the Air was shortlisted by the RAF for an audio drama marking the Battle of Britain.

And finally – William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew . A project by some of our team members, this adaptation of the full, original text, creative challenge exploring 'further developing on the idea of creating digital performance and new techniques of expressing characters, with the roles being split between two actors. Through painstaking character development, innovative performance, video editing, and use of online media tools, this production is going to be one which presents a traditional comedy, in a very new, modern way.

As is widely known, the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, caused postponement and cancellation of live shows for several months, for every theatre in the UK. During lockdown, the South Devon Players decided to resist the trend of companies closing,and the Players decided to create online performances, in which the actors come together to perform online from the safety of their own homes. This in itself has not been easy, as many people in the team, have had to learn new technology & software, and find ways to make it work on household electronics, with the cast and crew working from their lockdown locations mainly in south Devon but also sheltering in place spread across the UK, as well as the Republic of Ireland, and the USA. .

The South Devon Players Theatre and Film Company, are developing a proud tradition of creating world-class historical and classical dramas. In 2019, their production of Macbeth, was booked for a second tour and won an international theatre award in New York for its professionalism and creativity. Laura Jury, the director of that production of Macbeth, & many of the Player's shows, and founder of the theatre company, has returned to lead this new project. Laura has also recently been selected to appear in an online Shakespeare project by the Globe Theatre. With lockdown, the Players have been using the internet to perform and livestream digital theatre from Brixham, around the world to global audiences
The South Devon Players were founded in the winter of 2005-6, on the proceeds of a carboot sale, to create professional opportunities for local actors, and has flourished ever since; previously winning national and regional arts awards, including the national Epic Award 2017 for England, a national arts award celebrating creativity and innovation in grassroots arts. Based in Brixham, the Players primarily specialise in researched historical theatre productions and old “Classics”.

email: southdevonplayers@gmail.com

South Devon Players South Devon Players South Devon Players

Posted on 14/08/2020

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Audiences back in theatres from 1 August

Indoor performances with socially distanced audiences will be able to take place across the country from 1 August

Published 17 July 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, and The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

Pilots underway ahead of opening up of indoor performance venues
Audiences adhering to social distancing will be able to return to indoor theatres, music and performance venues from 1 August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced today.

The announcement marks a major step in getting the arts and cultural sectors fully back up and running, and follows the government’s announcement of £1.57 billion of funding for the arts, culture and heritage sector earlier this month, the biggest ever one off investment in these industries.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with the sector on pilots of performances with socially distanced audiences that will inform final guidance for venues in the run up to August 1. These include the London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s, London with a variety of further events in the coming weeks.

This announcement marks the move to stage 4 of the government’s 5-stage roadmap for the return of professional performing arts. Under the new regime, audiences, performers and venues will be expected to maintain social distancing at all times.

Guidance for the performing arts, published earlier this month, also sets out further measures to support the safe return of audiences, including:

Reduced venue capacity and limited ticket sales to ensure social distancing can be maintained
Tickets will be purchased online and venues encouraged to use e-tickets to reduce contact and help with track and trace
Venues should have clearly communicated social distancing marking in place in areas where queues form and adopt a limited entry approach
Increased deep cleaning of auditoriums
Performances should be scheduled to allow sufficient time to undertake deep cleaning before the next audience arrives
Performers, conductors, musicians must observe social distancing wherever possible

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
The UK’s performing arts sector is renowned across the world and I am pleased that we are making real progress in getting its doors reopened to the public with social distancing. From August indoor theatres, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country.

This is a welcome step in the path to a return to normal and, coupled with our £1.57 billion rescue package, will help secure the future of this important sector.

Singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments in groups or in front of an audience is still currently limited to professionals only.

This guidance will be for organisations in England. Organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should adhere to the advice of the devolved administrations at all times.

This guidance will be updated as the evidence develops around singing, wind and brass instruments, and the wider public health context. The five stages of the phased return to professional performing arts is as follows:

Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences and adhering to social distancing guidelines)
Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes (adhering to social distancing guidelines)
Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience plus pilots for indoor performances with a limited distance audience from July 11. We will now also work with the sector to get small pilots started as soon as possible and will set out further details in due course
Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (but with a limited distanced audience indoors)
Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

See the full article here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/audiences-back-in-theatres-from-1-august

Posted on 17/07/2020

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No Pantomime Season this year?

The Culture Secretary has warned that the return of theatre performances without social distancing remains “some way off” following the Government’s announcement of a £1.57 billion support package for the arts.

Oliver Dowden told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the relaxation of guidelines, such as on planes, has only been implemented in “exceptionally limited circumstances” and insisted “slow and baby steps” must be taken.

Theatres, along with museums, galleries, music venues, independent cinemas and heritage sites, will be eligible for the emergency grants and loans.

Mr Dowden also told BBC Breakfast it would be difficult to get theatres reopened in time for the Christmas pantomime season.

He added: “I would love to be able to announce that pantos can return but I have to say it will be quite challenging to be able to get to that point.

“Because if you think about a panto, and we all love going to the panto for the joy of it, but it also supports local theatres, you’ve got granny through to grandchild all packed in together, you know how kids are encouraged to shout and scream at panto season, there’s lots of sort of interaction.”

Mr Dowden said he is working with Public Health England to see if the risks can be mitigated but he wants “to be realistic about the challenges of getting us back to that point any time soon”.

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Posted on 07/07/2020

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