Creative Lives online network with the thematic focus of ‘Theatre’. Part of the wider #CreativeNetwork programme.

Open #CreativeNetwork conversations held on Zoom to share practices and responses to changing pandemic guidance* and restrictions for amateur and professional performing arts groups. Between these Zoom sessions, you're welcome to join our Facebook group and attend other Creative Network sessions to keep sharing news, ideas and resources. 

Our latest sessions are co-hosted by the Little Theatre Guild.

Coming up next is a peer-support session exploring the legalities around music in theatre productions and general use in buildings. Join us and our guest speaker Robert Williams, NODA's Marketing and Publishing Executive, on Monday 30 January 2023, from 6pm, online via Zoom. It's free and open for all!

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    Previous sessions

    Picture of a woman wearing headphones by a radio microphone

    3 October 2022 - How well do you know your local and community radio stations?

    This session brought together local theatre companies that aim to work more closely with their local radio stations to increase their visibility. BBC Radio Tees presenter, actress and Creative Lives producer Rachel Teate, talked us through how to get the most out of your local radio station. We were also joined by Jay Cundell Walker, Artistic Director, Ilkley Playhouse and and Christine Moran who has been a member of Progress Theatre for over 30 years and is currently Chair of the Programme Planning Committee as well as Box Office Manager and Art Co-ordinator for the Theatre. Christine is very active in the theatre, directing, producing and marketing shows as well as acting on stage.

    This session was chaired by Jess Plant, Creative Lives' Media Partnerships Director.

    9 March 2022 - Intergenerational Integration in Amateur Theatre

    Exploring how youth and core theatre activity support one another and enhance the community. The session will share successful models and discuss potential challenges, with support from LTG members with active youth theatres and Steph Meskell-Brocken, Chair of National Association of Youth Theatre.

    1 December 2021 - Celebrating Cultural Diversity

    Opening our doors is just the start - how can greater diversity and inclusion extend our theatres and productions? The session included examples of successful collaborations and policies in action from:

    You can watch Anne-Marie's presentation in the video below:

    Watch the presentation on the co-production 'India Gate' delivered by Howard Shepherdson & Tajinder Sindra below:

    9 June 2021 - Performing Shakespeare during lockdown

    A conversation with Avant Cymru, about how groups can adapt the canon to engage performers, production teams and audiences - co-creating inclusive and accessible productions that are both historical and forward-thinking. Avant Cymru prepare to stage their performance of Henry V live (and live-streamed) from the AFC Porth pitch.

    11 March 2021: Bringing together winners and nominees of the annual EPIC Awards (now Creative Lives Awards), which celebrates creative groups' contributions. South Devon Players, founder Laura Jury, 2017 winner, shared their digital practice and international partnerships developed during lock-down. 

    11 November 2020: 
    Theatre of Sanctuary network, sharing their experience of providing welcoming theatre experiences for refugees and those seeking sanctuary, with:

    • Sam Slatcher, Sanctuary Voice Coordinator
    • Rosie Macpherson, Artistic Director, SBC Theatre, discussing creative outcomes, tools and resources being developed
    • Seb Aguirre, Ice & Fire, discussing the stories they share and recent work.

    14 October 2020: Sara Harrison (Engagement and Audiences / Theatre, Arts Council England) and Tony Childs, The People's Theatre discussing how non-professional theatre is continuing to connect members away from venue-based activity.

    9 September 2020: 
    Malaika Cunningham and Linda Bloomfield of The Bare Project shared their experience of adapting their interactive theatre show for remote engagement. Preparing for the first national tour of The People’s Palace of Possibility when the pandemic hit, the creative team have blended forms to recreate the piece, while retaining its central themes, visible in the Palace Archive. Malaika has written for CUSP about the project.

    12 August 2020:
     Developing effective digital and outdoor practice, led by:

    8 July 2020: How professional and amateur theatre networks have adapted support and practices during the initial phases of lock-down, with:

    • Steph Meskell-Brocken, Chair, National Association of Youth Theatre (AD, Minerva Theatre) shared news about the networks suspension of membership fees, enabling more people to share in their resources, including online safe-guarding policies, and the regular NYATea, held every Monday to support youth theatre practitioners and sector survey to understand what families need to transition back.
    • Dale Freeman, CEO, National Operatic and Dramatic Association shared some of the regional support, digital reprogramming of conferences, AGMs and training - liaison with rights holders and the NODA insurance that has supported over 200 claims for cancelled performances. 
    • Ian Wainwright, Producer, Royal Shakespeare Company shared how the theatre’s community out- and in- reach has been affected by lockdown, the support for artists while working with 95% team on furlough (and in true lockdown style)  in parallel to overseeing a streamed production of ‘The Day the Crayons Went on Strike’ for Better Start Centres, performed by the actors preparing for RSC’s Spring/Summer production. 

    We were joined previously by Charlotte Jones, CEO of the Independent Theatre Network

    Links shared by other participants during sessions include:

    Theatre Resources

    Collective Encounters have been running training events and sharing resources via the Centre for Excellence in Participatory Theatre

    Royal Shakespeare Company resources for practitioners

    Outdoor Arts UK have resources including risk assessments available

    Drama Groups website offers extensive listings of amateur groups operating across UK and internationally and other relevant information 

    The Amateur Theatre Policy Briefing produced by the Amateur Drama Research project (funded by AHRC)

    Guidance for working equitably with refugees and those seeking sanctuary: Sanctuary in the Arts Resource Pack

    Theatre Networks

    You can find other useful umbrella bodies on our listings page.

    * Guidance from the devolved governments and arts councils of England (ACE), Ireland (ACI) and Northern Ireland (ACNI), Scotland (Creative Scotland) and Wales (CCC/ACW) are also being continually updated.