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  • Paul Fowler

Staying Creative in a Time of COVID

Double winners of the British All Winners Finals, White Cobra Productions, share their experience of keeping creative in festival free a time of theatre closures and Corona Virus blues..... ​ On March 14th 2020, the curtain came down on White Cobra's first theatrical production of the year. We'd set up a short tour in local pubs of Peter Quilter's “Blind Date”, one of the four plays that makes up his play “Duets”. As events transpired not only was it our first stage show of the year - it was also our last. Like theatre companies across the country Covid-19 and lockdown bought all our carefully laid out plans to a crashing halt. We were just a week away from the first night of our Spring production - Martin McDonagh's "The Lonesome West". The set had been built, the costumes sourced, the props (including a shotgun and over 100 plaster cast models of the Virgin Mary!) built, bought or hired, and the lines learned. Had Coronavirus not intervened we'd been accepted into The Isle of Man Easter Festival of Plays, one of the highlights of our year and, rather excitingly, we'd been asked to perform the show at a festival in the Russian city of Perm later in the year. There followed a period when we licked our wounds, but hoped we might still be able to go ahead with our outdoor summer production of “Wind in the Willows”, however it soon became obvious that too wasn't going to be possible, so what to do? As things turned out we found a new way to be creative, we've launched a YouTube channel and have produced our first full length audio play called “Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer”. It was recorded under lockdown conditions, with none of the four cast members getting together, other than over Zoom meetings, recording their lines individually which were then edited together. We've also recorded a series of five "mini-movies" based on “The Wind in the Willows”. These will not only act as previews when hopefully we get to perform the show in summer 2021, but as stand-alone stories featuring the characters from the classic story. Just like when we first formed White Cobra we've started slowly doing small scale productions as we learn. We're lucky to have some brilliant people on board with the skills necessary to act, write, direct, and now record, film and edit! We're planning to maintain the channel with the hope of putting out new material every month, alongside the Wind in the Willows films we've an original new comedy short called “One of those Days”, plus a great script with a lovely twist – “Running4Ever”. There's a lovely new audio piece called “A Summer of Spring”, and a little piece you may have heard of called “Macbeth”! Make no mistake losing all our theatrical productions has been a blow, but we've discovered some brilliant new scripts we wouldn't have been aware of, kept the company busy producing new material, and hopefully set in motion a new venture to run alongside our traditional touring shows. So lockdown doesn't need to be a time when theatrical groups stop performing, the curtain can go up again, it's just on a different stage. ​ IF YOU HAVE ANY TALES OR TIPS ON HOW TO SURVIVE THESE STRANGE AND DIFFICULT TIMES THEN PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. Email GODA Information Officer - paul@paul-fowler.co.uk



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