Category: Diversity

The Get in -June 2021

This month’s video I take a break from the project and focus a little on an event in November that aims to raise money for the British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, you can click here to view that. Click here to view
As I write this email, we are all awaiting the final decision about how the UK Government will move forward with their road map to reopen the country with these COVID variations around.
The Impact of Volunteers
Many arts organisation are all set to welcome back their visitors after many venues have spent more than a year in the dark.
This closure will have had a huge impact on volunteers and volunteering, not just to organisations but individual too. This whole idea of serving your community without anything in return is beneficial physically, mentally and socially.
For those organisation who have been lucky enough to bring volunteers back after the lock downs and have been able to increase their force, are the organisations that understand the true value of serving.
Community Spirit on 7th August is about serving and volunteering, as well as giving organisations across the spectrum the opportunity to reach out and meet new potential volunteers. It also gives the opportunity for local organisation to find ways to collaborate in supporting each other when it comes to the locals volunteering. If you would like to volunteer at the Bridgwater Community Spirit please click here.
Community Spirit – The Main Event
Community Spirit is designed as an event that can be put together anywhere at short notice, as it involves as many people as want to get involved.
The welcoming of local businesses to be able to be present to meet new potently clients gives reason for funding as well as the boost to the local economy should encourage local councils to be involved.
But there is a benefit to all those who get involved, businesses, organisations, volunteers and councils. More information on my website, link at the bottom of the email.
2025 Trust Fund – The Emergency Fund
Whilst the 2025 Trust Fund is first and foremost a grant fund it will also be an emergency fund for the industry in times like of closure during this current pandemic.
There will be a set procedure for the board to activate the fund into an emergency fund, which will potentially stop all grants until further notice.
How it works as an emergency fund and what criteria is needed for it to become such, will be for the first Board of Trustees to decide. Click here to donate to fund.
Theatre Through the Years – 1918 Pandemic
The Spanish Influenza saw 50 million deaths worldwide, but very much like the current pandemic government initially leaving the decision to close venues down to management, but there was closure order put in place.
Where venues decided to keep their doors open it was rare to find any precautions were in place. Actors, musician and crew would suddenly become ill during performances. Only in Shews bury did venues close their doors after reporting 24 deaths.
So when coronavirus hits in 2020 the industry wonders why the hash restrictions are put in place. But I wonder how many actors saw opportunity for jobs in training for places for care homes or supporting public health messages?
It’s like I have said before, the industry is in all ways a public service. So learning there is a time to do what we want to do, the big West End show or the small art exhibition. But we also need to understand that there are times when we need to support others, especially on the large scale.
Get Involved
Don’t forget you to visit the website, subscribe to the YouTube Channel, but most importantly just get involved. I have recently sent out invites to join Community Spirit, volunteer, financially or just being a part of.  Come and join us as we create, The Greatest Show on Earth! If you are a media outlet and would like to pick up on anything in these emails or on the website, then please do feel free to contact me via: If you know someone who would like to join the mailing list please get them to email me using the address at the bottom of the page.

Building Set and Preparing Costumes – May Email

Welcome to this May Edition. Another month closer to the industry opening with many venues and organisations well underway in their preparation with fewer limitations that have been in place for the last 12 months.
As part of this The New Greatest Show on Earth project offers its own support through the Setting the Stage programme which I wrote about in the March edition and produced a video as part of the April email. You can check them out a long with this month’s video on my YouTube Channel click here
Community Spirit Update
Those wishing to volunteer at the Community Spirit event who not already signed up, now is the time is take action.
The online process is quick, easy and safe. Head over to the website by clicking here, fill in the online application form, book your interview / informal chat for a day and time that is convenient to you. You don’t need to decide what you want to do on the day, the application form only asks what event, this will all part of the discussion in the interview and you will be able to look over the roles online once you’ve applied. With COVID restrictions lifting you can either have your interview online or in person. The online booking of interviews is for one on one, but if you would prefer a group interview then let me know using the email below once you have completed the online application form and I will book all individuals in for the time slot. I do ask though that groups are kept to 3 or 4 people at one time.                         – Safeguarding PolicyVolunteer Policy
Unions, The Importance’s of
As an industry we are so lucky to have some really dedicated unions and canopy organisations that have worked tireless during the pandemic and lock downs to ensure members are represented within decision making of government and relaying information back to members. Without them I think we would be in a far worse position at this end of lock down. So, if you are reading this, and you are not a member then sign up and get involved. Whatever you do as part of the creative industry you can find an organisation or union that will represent you, just search online for creative industry unions.
Speaking Engagements
Back in February I briefly mentioned about speaking engagements talking about the project and how it can help boards, volunteers and venues. With the restrictions now lifting I will be more than happy to travel and speak in person, before my break this month I will publish a full list of topics and prices on the website.
2025 Trust Fund – For whom and Criteria
Last month I wrote about the governing of the 2025 Trust Fund, this month I want to touch on the who the fund will be open to and what kind of criteria would have to be met to access the grants. Essentially it will be one of the first things the board will have to decide when they come together in 2023. But just to give you an idea of what the vision of the trust looks like and what you could expect. I will publish these on the website later in the year. There are just three main areas that those applying will have to provide evidence that their projects, that it benefits the Community, that the project has a strong element inclusion of diversity and that it will benefit the long term of the creative industry. Click here to donate to fund.
Theatre Through the Years – World War 1
The first world war broke out in 1914 and during the 4 years theatre became paramount as the escape for those who were left at home and civilian life. Theatre was what took people away from the reality of the fighting and political disagreements. Theatre was used to promote British views and identity. In 1916, 20 million people were able to see the harsh reality of the fighting for the first time in the film The Battle of Somme, without this kind of showings the ordinary people would not have known so much about the war. Like with every other part of history of theatre there is always something to learn. The reality of the pandemic has been harsh and has been shown through digital media. So, it’s down the creative industry to find ways to take the minds of the ordinary people away from the reality, like I said last month, there is always something we can be doing, it just may not be what we want to do currently.
Get Involved
If in receiving these emails they leave you with a sense of something to get involved, whether it be part of the creation process or the publishing or even help organise local visions of the programmes like Community Spirit. Then please do send me an email offering your support, I would love to hear from you wherever you are. If you are interested being part of my local Community Spirit event, either as a participant, small business or sponsor, then please contact me on the email below, I would love to hear from you. If you are a media outlet and would like to pick up on anything in these emails or on the website, then please do feel free to contact me via:

Casting and Rehearsing – April Email

Welcome to the April edition of my yearlong campaign supporting the creative industry. If you are new to these emails and would like to read the back story from January then visit my website, details at the bottom. Also don’t forget that all these emails are accompanied by a YouTube Video, to watch this month’s click here. If you would like to find out how you can get involved in this project or indeed if you’re a media outlet reading this and would like to more information to publish then check out the end of this email for details.
Reaching Out into Community
It’s been over a year now since the industry was closed due to coronavirus. So this year I wondered how many took to the internet to promote World Theatre day of putting theatre in the minds of locals as we prepare to reopen our doors. April is a writer’s months with an event called Camp NaNaWriMo. How many of you are using this event as an excuse to reach out to local writers, both professional and wannabes as in encouragement, to show appreciation to writing craft. On the 21st and 22nd April we have World Creativity Day, I would love to hear how you will be encouraging your creative community to celebrate.
2025 Trust Fund Update
The 2025 Trust Fund will be a national charity connected to The New Greatest Show on Earth Project. Like any other charity there will be a board to govern and makes strategic plans tol guide the Trust. From the middle of 2023 to the beginning of 2024, I will be recruiting trustees for the board. During the summer of 2024 the board will begin to recruit member of local task groups who will be the first point of contact for all applications. The application process for grants will be two stage, first it will be the local task groups, made up for a cross section of local community, who will decide who to award the grants too, stage 2 the main board would check to ensure the application does cover the criteria with enough appropriate evidence. The main board will also focus on finding inspiring stories of individuals and groups that could be awarded specials grants and bursaries. If you buy Community Logo items from my online shop all profits go towards the Fund, plus you can donate here
Community Spirit in brief
There is still time if you want to sign up to volunteer for the Bridgwater event or indeed create a partner Community Event where you are. Head to the website for details – If you missed the livestream in March, you can watch on my YouTube channel, link at the bottom, you can download the PowerPoint by clicking here.
Lighting The Beacons The second phase of The Greatest Show on Earth Project is called, Lighting the Beacons, the focus is on venues and theatres. As explained in this month’s video, Resetting the Stage workshops are the bridge between the first phase, Community and this second phase, you can find out more about the workshops by clicking here. I am introducing Lighting the Beacons now as it will be theatres themselves have struggled through closures due to the pandemic, with some already gone into administration. This format of this programme is a tour, so it will introduce logistics side of the project, which is an area focused on much more in the final phase of this project. More information about Lighting The Beacon will be available on my website from September.
Theatre Through the Years – Puritans and the Plague
The longest closure was after the English civil war when the Puritans took government, they made public performances illegal on moral and economic grounds. Though ‘illegal’ performances still went on, so the Puritans placed fines on spectators for attendances. When the monarchy was restored in 1660 the ban was lifted on theatres and performances. Then a year or so before Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet the great plague of London struck 1665. This saw the closure of theatres for 14 months and took the lives of around 10,000 Londoners. Many play writes, actors and artists fled London to tour. It was also through these times of closure that writers like Shakespeare turned to writing poetry. The Kings Men were eventually able to perform at Hampton Court, tand were paid £103, plus £30 compensation for their financial loss due to closure. From the 18 years of Puritan rule to the Plague of London we learn that as an industry there are always things we can do, even in the face of adversity. Still after all those years of closure theatre and arts came back bigger and stronger like never before, in new and better ways.
Get Involved
If in receiving these emails they leave you with a sense of something to get involved, whether it be part of the creation process or the publishing or even help organise local visions of the programmes like Community Spirit. Then please do send me an email offering your support, I would love to hear from you wherever you are. If you are interested being part of my local Community Spirit event, either as a participant, small business or sponsor, then please contact me on the email below, I would love to hear from you. If you are a media outlet and would like to pick up on anything in these emails or on the website, then please do feel free to contact me via: If you know someone who would like to join the mailing list please get them to email me using the address at the bottom of the page.

Laying the Foundations – February Email

Welcome to February’s email. For those of you who are new on the mailing list these emails are all accompanied by a YouTube video which you can find by clicking here, the theme this month is Volunteering. Don’t forget to subscribe and press the bell for the latest upload notifications. So, January brought the UK into another lockdown, meaning all venues are forced into yet another closure, so not a good start to the New Year, is probably an understatement. But focusing on the positives, we have seen lots of people showing their support for the arts, wanting theatres reopened, because they know, like we do just how much the creatives impact have on their communities and individual lives.
Look Forward
Like with many businesses during the current COVID situation, I am not able to offer up a full list of services. However, I am happy to speak via Zoom to board, staff and volunteers about the project and the 2025 Trust fund. It will give you an idea how you can get involved and how it could potentially impact you and your local community. I’m charging a small fee of £10 per engagement, this will be placed in the 2025 Trust Fund. If you would like more information, please feel free to email me or message me through the Facebook page or direct message on Ingram both profiles are @at2rentertainment.
Supporting Local
I think what we are learning from the pandemic is that we need to think small, over the last couple of decades or so we have seen this idea of nationalisation and globalisation. Where businesses become corporate and set up as many outlets across the country, some individuals owning more than one of these businesses and employing thousands of people. I think 2020 has shown that this model really doesn’t work, how many of national chains put in requests of funding from the government or investors? How many people lost jobs as a result of these businesses closing down? So right in the heart of these hard times, when unemployment is high and funding is scares and people are looking to find ways to make a difference, as an industry this is our moment, we are at the heart of every community, a concept that I spoke about on video in latter part of 2020, you can find them on my YouTube channel. So, let’s encourage people to be creative it’s what we do best as an industry, connecting people with their inner selves through imagination. Pre pandemic the creative industry enjoyed thousands of hours of support from volunteers who showed the love for our industry by helping to making it happen in their own communities.
The 2025 Trust Fund
Don’t forget to donate to the 2025 Trust fund. Over the course of the year through these emails and videos, you will learn more about the Trust Fund and what it means to the industry, also how you can get involved, both in terms of fundraising and being part of the strategic planning that will give accountability for ensuring the money arrives where it is due and on time. Click here to donate.
Community Spirit
In 2018 a £4.5 million program was launched by the UK Health Secretary that would see the arts put on prescription from doctors in an attempt to tackle health issue such as depression, social isolation and even those with complex needs. Activities include drama, singing, visiting museums and creative reading. These were not about replacing, but instead to be worked alongside conventional therapies and medicines. I think that even with the current restrictions we should still be able to fulfil this role within our communities by whatever means we can. The review on this incentive in December 2020 showed how positive the impact Arts on Prescription has become. Maybe this is a starting point to bring our audiences back to our venues, it will also bring new unsung talent to light. As we recover from the pandemic, we need become proactive and explore new, inclusive and engaging ways to reach out to our communities, things we have never dared to try before. The Community Spirit programme is about sharing in each other’s ideas, because the lockdowns during this pandemic have shown, we need to move forward in our approach because government is not going to jump at supporting as part of its response. So, as an industry we need find ways to support people who suffer with isolation and other mental health issues, as we have heard this is worse than ever during this lockdown. Plus, there will always be away to link those programmes to our main aims and objects. As a way of sharing and networking I have created a Community Spirit group on Facebook, you can join by clicking here. There are also local versions of the group that you are welcome to join via the same means. Don’t forget in August I am hoping to launch the Community Spirit main event (COVID pending) which is a fundraiser for the 2025 Trust Fund and the opportunity for the industry to seek out hidden talent within our communities. Finally, though the plans for the Main Event have currently stalled slightly due to the uncertainty of the pandemic’s restrictions and length of lockdown, we are opening registration for those wishing to volunteer in the Bridgwater event on the 22nd February, please head to If you are putting on your own version of this event and decide that you would like to tap into my volunteer system to for recruitment, please get in touch through the usual channels to find out how.
Theatre Through the Years – The Beginning
It’s important that as an industry we never forget where we have come from, because there are lessons embedded in our past that will help us in our future and it holds the keys to our road out of this pandemic. So here in the UK theatre started as a set of traditional rituals performed by Celtic and Pagan cleric, but real theatre as we know was created in Greece, comedy and plays were first performed in 6th century BCE. It was developed as it made its way through Europe, like the Olympic flame, arriving in the UK around the 5th Century, where over the cause of 2000 years we have adopted, developed and changed it to what we know today. In this time of uncertainty, where the industry is forced to a standstill, we need to stop, take stock and return to our roots. Not to Greece, but to the way we sold it the whole entertainment thing to the crowds, both as audience and participants, by going out into the community and doing what we love more. The 21st century extends the community around us as we meet and find people online who share in our own personal unique creativity.
Final Thought
Keeping in touch is so important as we begin this long road to recovery. I find there is nothing more uplifting then hearing both positives and struggles from others as we share this journey together. So please do feel free to contact me at any time either through social media or email.   Networking and supporting each other is more important than ever before, but the industry will get through this, we will come back bigger, better and stronger than ever.   If you know anyone who would like to receive these emails please get them to email me through to be included, don’t forget to add this address into your contacts to stop the emails going to your junk box, as well as subscribe to the YouTube channel and follow me on social media.

Funding in the Arts

We often read that theatres should be working with more diversity in their performances and possibly being penalised if they fail. At the same time there’s this discussion about lack of funding for new works. Surely there is a link between the 2 here?

I think maybe we forget a few things, for instance all of today’s great shows all started the same way trying to source funding. Look at Les Miserable, when you look back at when the idea was first hatched it was, in all cases, the rejected play and for no other reason than it had miserable is the title. Yet as it began its 30th season 2015 it had become one the best loved and longest running musicals of all time being translated into 22 languages with productions in 42 counties and 319 cities.

Or look at Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap playing at the St. Martin’s Theatre, the longest running West End play as it began its 63rd session in 2015. There is also the world famous works of Shakespeare, originally written in the 18th Century, they all needed funding at to start out.

All of these scripts were written about a society that was racist, that was sexist and worked on stereotyping. But some of these stories are well loved and give a powerful message reminding us about our past. But to penalise a theatre or production for lack of diversity when attempting to stage these shows would be wrong and it wouldn’t solve the diversity issues in our theatres.

In The Stage on 28th May 2015 Maria Friedman spoke about the lack of work for ‘Older Actresses’, and is almost forcing a generation to move over to directing. While for ‘diversity’ this is good as we are seeing a rise in the female directors. But what does it do for the on stage diversity issue? Is it really the fault of the director or the actors that there is a limit to variety of works to cover all bases of diversity?

Steven Berkoff’s recent comment that ‘White actors should be allowed to play Othello’ seems like a desperate cry to close the diversity gap, as Othello works because of the black / white issue of the day in which it is written. White people have never been singled out and forced into a situation that Othello was, and to do that would make the whole play unreal and unbelievable.

Now I am not saying that funding bodies should just give out money to new works, as the element of risk will always be high. The writers and all those involved to producing the works should work on their pitch and not just to the funder but also the potential audience. In today’s techno world there are ways to gage if a show is going to work, in very much the same way as the retails can gage if there is a market for new product.