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Whilst The Lyric Theatre’s doors have been closed since lockdown began, its small but dedicated team has been busy working behind the scenes.
They have been planning for the future to explore how The Lyric can adapt, raise funds and respond to the changing situation following lockdown.
Niki McCretton, owner and artistic director of The Lyric, has been lobbying at theatre industry meetings – regionally and nationally – with other artists, producers and venues such as Theatre Royal Plymouth, exploring possible strategies for the future of the arts and culture sector, sharing resources and ideas.
Niki said: “With all live performances cancelled up and down the country, it has been in the news that the arts will, at last, receive some support. Artists, performers and technicians have lost their livelihoods. This situation has never been more serious, and it is a vital time to support the arts and keep our theatres alive.”
While the team await detail on the new government scheme and when theatres might look to re-open, it is supporting artists during this time – mentoring, assisting and planning with them to find ways through this and giving national information to local artists in the community.
Bridport musicians, Sammy Hurden and Jim Dvorak, have been taking turns to come and rehearse in the empty theatre, which they say has been a lifeline to their creativity.
Sammy said: “So many artists have had the rug pulled from under them during lockdown and I am one of them. The opportunity to practice at The Lyric has turned into a lifesaver and has given me the chance to revisit many songs I have written over the years, mostly sung by choirs during ‘normal’ times. The beauty of playing the Broadwood piano – which may well have lived through the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic – and singing in an old wooden hall with ancient flocked wallpaper, has encouraged me. There’s a warmth and acceptance in the building and I feel free to be me again. Huge heartfelt thanks to Niki and The Lyric for allowing me to re-find my voice and creativity during these very strange times.”
The team at The Lyric Theatre has set up a ‘Curtain up on Communities’ initiative to find ways to bring the arts out of the building while they cannot invite audiences in and to use artists’ skills within the community during the summer months. They will be launching a community wide event, The Portrait Challenge, in the coming weeks, for everyone to get involved in. to support the project and find out more, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/curtain-up-on-communities