COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

All OffWestEnd venues are currently closed.  This webpage provides an update on OffWestEnd COMPANIES and complements our other webpage covering VENUES.  This page provides information on online activities and services, including recorded performances, being offered by these companies.  It also includes links to pages set up by many companies where you can make a donation to help pay staff and cover their other costs at this difficult time. We have just added this webpage and have invited all comanies to send us an update regarding their status, and the page will be continuously updated as and when additional information is received.

For any queries or to send info to be added to this page, please email info@offwestend.com.

Please note that we have included links where possible – they should all be working – apologies if there are any problems – do let us know if there any broken or incorrect links – send an email to info@offwestend.com.

GENERAL

The following website has a list of online theatre productions, many of which are free to view: https://2ndfrombottom.wordpress.com/2020/03/31/40-reasons-to-stay-in/

Clapham Fringe

They have opened submissions for the 6th Clapham Fringe. The festival’s motif for 2020 is The Show Must Go On. They welcome applicants to interpret this as broadly or as precisely as they wish. More details & how to apply: https://www.claphamfringe.com/take-part.html

Voila! Europe Theatre Festival

Calling artists and companies with a connection to Europe and something to say!  Submissions are now open.  They are carrying on with the assumption that their 9-22 November 2020 festival can go ahead at The Cockpit and Rich Mix, but are also exploring the possibilities of online broadcast (more details to come). Find out more about the festival and the application process open until May 5th by visiting their website: https://www.voilafestival.co.uk/sales/voila-menu/voila-2020

Performance Live
The full Performance Live Collection of 12 films (previously broadcast between autumn 2016 and December 2019) is now available via the BBC iPlayer for an extended period, with work created by the following artists, companies and arts organisations: Kate Tempest; Young Vic + Paul Mason; Slung Low; Eggs Collective; Ross Sutherland; 20 Stories High + Contact Theatre Manchester; Wayne McGregor Studio + Robin Friend; Akala; Touretteshero; Tamasha; Hofesh Shechter; Alexander Zeldin + National Theatre.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b094rfj6/episodes/player

Elaine Paige / Showstoppers

West End and Broadway star Elaine Paige set Olivier Award-winning improvisers The Showstoppers a challenge to compose her a brand new musical theatre song in just 24 hours – the theme was to be about having to stay isolated at home and in the style of “West Side Story”, which is her favourite musical of all time. The finished song, “Don’t Go Out” in the style of  “West Side Story” – recorded by the cast who are all isolated from each other – can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-Iv93Aem_M&feature=youtu.be

All The Web’s A Stage

This will be held on 23 April, Shakespeare’s Birthday – more info via twitter: https://twitter.com/theatretogether.

BBC: Unprecedented

Headlong and Century Films have announced a cast of over 50 UK actors taking part in Unprecedented: Theatre from the State of Isolation. A series of new digital plays written in response to the current Covid-19 Pandemic, Unprecedented will be broadcast across the nation during lockdown as part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative, and made available to stream online from May.

Written by celebrated playwrights and curated by Headlong, Century Films and BBC Arts, Unprecedented explores our rapidly evolving world, responding to how our understanding and experiences of community, education, work, relationships, family, culture, climate and capitalism are evolving on an unprecedented scale. The series will ask how we got here and what the enduring legacy of this historic episode might be.

Metropolitan Opera

Looking for something else to catch up on while you’ve got the time? Check out the Metropolitan Opera’s nightly live streams. The full schedule is on their website here – it’s a fantastic chance to hear their operas, and they’re free to watch.

Arts Council Emergency Funding

There is also help available for those thinking of applying for any of Arts Council England‘s COVID-19 relief funding.  A National Application Reading Service has been put together which will help people get their application into the best shape possible. More information HERE.

The DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) is inviting written evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on any sectors under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s remit (which includes culture and the creative industries).  Click HERE for more information.

INFO FROM COMPANIES & OTHERS

Barn Theatre

The Barn Theatre in Cirencester have announced a new Shakespeare series which sees the Bard’s beloved monologues reimagined to fit into modern day lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. The series will release a new monologue every weekday to the Barn Theatre’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts, beginning 20th April 2020.  The series, which is co-produced by actor Aaron Sidwell, director Hal Chambers and the Barn Theatre, forms part of the Barn Theatre’s free Behind The Barn Door streaming service, which airs on their Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts. The series is production co-ordinated by company stage manager Emma Smith.

Curious Tales Theatre Co

In September 2019, the play ‘Room Service’ won one of OffWestEnd’s first Commendation Awards for theatre pieces presenting shorter runs. Originally written and performed as a 15 minute scratch piece, it gained a large amount of interest, including from the Bread & Roses Theatre, who supported and inspired the production team to develop it into a full-length play. Armed with their Offcomm badge and 5 Star reviews, the Two Right Feet team embarked on a second short run at the Omnibus Theatre as part of the TalosFest ScIFi Theatre festival in December.  The Room Service team are continuing to develop, with plans being prepared for a short film version, and writer Richard Fitchett currently working on exploring the arc of the characters in the theatre script, extending the play to incorporate an interval, and further develop the use of technological dimensions, given that the piece is set in the not too distant future, with it’s very own AI character. The current social climate has allowed us to reflect on Room Service’s topics of confinement, solitude and our heavy reliance on technology. All things that will remain interesting and relevant for our audiences once we present the show again. 

Twitter: @RoomServicePlay /  Instagram: @RoomService_theplay

Director’s Cut Theatre Company

They have launched LockDown OpenUp which invites you (yes, you) to pen a lil 1-2 minute piece inspired by your lockdown experience, which will potench be performed at one of their SP showcases!  https://directorscuttheatre.co.uk/about/opportunities/

They are also offering Viral Verses which can be accessed HERE.

Frantic Assembly https://www.franticassembly.co.uk/frantic-digital

They have launched a new virtual resource, Frantic Digital, which will give audiences exclusive insight into the creation of some of the company’s most iconic productions, including Beautiful Burnout, Lovesong, Othello and Things I Know to be True. In response to the current lockdown, Frantic Assembly will release a series of videos each week based on a different production,  that  will enable people, of any age all over the UK and abroad, to engage with Frantic Assembly’s work, through creative challenges, practical warm-ups and deep dives into how shows were made.

Each week, Scott Graham, co-founder and Artistic Director of Frantic Assembly will reconnect with performers, actors, writers and creative practitioners for Frantic Flashbacks, videos which will share insights into the creative and rehearsal process. Frantic Flashbacks will combine specially recorded conversations with former cast members and the creative team, with never-before seen rehearsal footage and archive production material. Audiences will be invited to take part in different creative challenges in Frantic Create. Led by Scott Graham and Frantic Associates, these weekly challenges will involve everything from creating your own boxing-inspired choreography to rewriting Shakespeare.  Frantic Associates Simon Pittman and Sophie Shaw, will lead warm-ups inspired by the rehearsal process of that week’s production in Warm Up With Us.

Full Disclosure

XPOSED, from the legends at Full Disclosure who have brought four cracking LGBTQ+ themed new writing nights TO Southwark Playhouse in the past, are looking for submissions for their next showcase: https://www.fulldisclosuretheatre.co.uk/xposed

Graeae

Graeae Theatre Company have announced an 11 Week Digital Programme. Crips Without Constraints – A Play, A Podcast, A Picture will, over the next few months, embrace the need to isolate and at the same time celebrate the creativity of Deaf and disabled artists across the nation.  Divided into three strands, from Monday 20 April this new digital programme will roll out across Graeae’s website and Facebook pages – website – www.graeae.org  / Facebook – /graeae. 

Plays is a collaboration with acclaimed screenwriter, playwright and Graeae patron Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – Sonia Freedman, His Dark Materials BBC/HBO, Let The Right One In – National Theatre of Scotland/ Royal Court) alongside Graeae’s New Writing Department.  Shortly after the UK government announced a complete lockdown in the UK, Graeae commissioned eleven Deaf and disabled writers to create one monologue each written in isolation. Some took on the current crisis directly, others eschewed the pandemic in favour of something completely different.  Each work, however, is a bold and brilliant response to the challenge. With writing from Khush Chahal, Adam Fenton, gobscure, Kathryn Golding, Raji Gopalakrishnan, Jamie Hale, Daisy Higman, Ink Asher Hemp, Shahid Iqbal Khan, Anita Kelly, and Hannah Treadaway, the collection represents the finest new diverse talent from across the UK.  Each monologue is read to camera by a Deaf or disabled actor and is introduced by Jack Thorne. The monologues, which will be captioned, and audio described, will be streamed every Monday, kicking off on Monday 20 April with Flesh by Graeae Write to Play graduate Anita Kelly.

Each Wednesday from April 22 the online offering continues with Podcast.  These are be BSL interpreted versions of Graeae and Disability Arts Online series, Disability and… podcastsThey were first aired last year to great acclaimed.  Podcast will commence with TourettesHero Jess Thom’s interview with Nickie Miles-Wildin.

Picture is a series of images to celebrate the careers of Deaf and disabled artists, re-released from Graeae’s archive and including work from the 2016 exhibition Reframing The Myth which was originally commissioned by Graeae and the Central Illustration Agency in May 2016.  The first to be released is Garry Robson, by Jakob Hinrichs.

Immersive Dracula

Immersive Dracula is a London theatre show about complicity and wilful ignorance when powerful men are accused of dark deeds. They sold out every ticket, and then a week before opening night the coronavirus pandemic forced them to postpone.  Many of the cast have lost their second jobs because of the virus and now face food insecurity and/or housing insecurity. Click HERE for more info on their cast hardship fund.  They will also be streaming 36 hours of gothic fiction, including readings from Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and many, many more, from Immersive Dracula’s cast, crew and friends. The entire stream will be presented on Philosophy Tube, the channel of Dracula performer Olly Thorn, with over 35 million views on Youtube.

Mischief Theatre

They have been doing the #GoesWrongAlong every Friday at 7pm for the next few weeks, where the Mischief followers choose an episode from the Goes Wrong show to watch together and follow on Twitter with the cast answering questions and giving insider info on how they get it to go so wrong!

They have also been working on some new podcasts, with the first two episodes now live on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3kai8iwvYDR6wZVou6c4Tr

Sedos sedos.co.uk

Isolation: keep an eye on Sedos’ social media from midday on Sunday 19 April to see the results of our 30-day theatrical experiment. Writers and composers produce songs, monologues and duologues, which are then filmed at home by performers. Facebook.com/sedostheatre | instagram.com/sedoslondon

The Importance Of Being Earnest: rehearsed reading of Oscar Wilde’s classic play, on Friday 17 April at 7.30pm. Email events@sedos.co.uk to be sent the link to watch 

Zoom Your Own Improv: Sedos’ in-house improv group, the Banana Hut Gang, are creating their sell-out Edinburgh show live on Zoom every Wednesday at 8.30pm. Facebook.com/bananahutgang | instagram.com/bananahutgang | twitter.com/bananahutgang

Sedance: our weekly dance class is available on the Sedance Facebook page from 7.10pm every Monday. Facebook.com/groups/328763023951811/

Seyoga with Matt: 6.30pm on Wednesdays. Book at https://mattmoves.as.me/schedule.php?appointmentType=13797270

The Show Must Go Online https://robmyles.co.uk/theshowmustgoonline/

This show”reframes the way we knew theatre”. Every week, a new reading of Shakespeare’s plays is performed live to a global audience, by a global cast. You can see the previous shows here. Featuring innovative prop work, fights, foley, and much more besides! They’re broadcast live every Wednesday 7pm BST, and available for catch-up shortly after.  The venture is entirely voluntary, and free for audiences to watch. Audiences can donate to the Patreon page, set up as an opt-in hardship fund for those involved.  Anyone can apply to participate via the website. Subscribe to the YouTube channel, hit the bell and select ‘All’ to receive updates on the forthcoming shows.

Tramp https://www.wearetramp.com

Philip Ridley has put together a series of online monologues in association with Tramp and the cast of his play The Beast of Blue Yonder which was due to premiere at Southwark Playhouse in April.  These monologues will be aired online every Thursday at 7.30pm.