The last few weeks have been hectic and unsettling for everyone at the Almeida. We’ve gone from preparing to open our new production of “Daddy”, to making the difficult decision to postpone all upcoming productions and furloughing the majority of our staff.
During this crisis we’ve been consistently overwhelmed by the resilience of our team, and the generosity of our audience. Thank you to every individual who has donated their ticket, renewed their membership, become a member for the first time, has made a donation, or has sent messages of support. Your support has been essential in ensuring the long term survival of our theatre.
In the days leading up to the lockdown it became clear we needed to postpone rehearsals for “Daddy”, and ensure all members of the cast and creative team could get home safely. We also began the process of moving our entire team out of the theatre and set them up to work from home. We then had the huge task of putting the theatre safely to bed for an indefinite closure which we hoped would be weeks, but feared would be months.
We also began to postpone all our upcoming performances, and our amazing Box Office team (all now working from their homes) contacted each ticket holder individually, replying to thousands of emails and calls. Many of our customers were so kind to donate the value of their tickets which has really helped give us some financial security at this time. We have also taken advantage of the government’s furlough scheme so most of our team are on furlough for the time being.
It has felt even more important than ever to keep all of our participation programmes running to ensure that our young people stay connected with each other and to encourage creativity during this time.
All our many Young Artist programmes are continuing weekly, with over 110 young people actively engaged with us online. We have added some new opportunities such as virtual masterclasses with leading industry figures for our Young Producers, as well as curating the best online theatre content for our Young Critics to discuss each week. We are also adapting the work of our Young Company into creating podcasts and a new digital festival. We are even running online workshops for our 5-14 year olds in Academy!
We were really interested in hearing first hand about young people’s experiences at this time, so have also started running a Coronavirus Time Capsule in association with Company Three. This asks people to make a new video each week documenting what they’ve done and how they are feeling during this momentous time.
To help with home schooling we’ve also made a whole host of resources available online for teachers, parents and students studying English, Drama, History and Ethics. More info.
We’re really excited to announce that Albion will be broadcast on BBC Four as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine season, and we’ll let you know the broadcast date as soon as it’s available.
Throughout lockdown we’ve been staying in contact with all the artists we work with and, we’ve been trying to prepare our next season with some truly exciting productions for you when we return.
Finally to keep you entertained we’ve rounded-up some of our favourite moments on-stage and backstage, including a curated playlist of monologues, our epic retellings of The Iliad and The Odyssey, as well as Figures of Speech with Ian McKellen, Cush Jumbo, Fiona Shaw and many more.
We realise none of this can compare to the experience of live theatre, and we can’t wait till we can throw open our doors again and welcome you back to Almeida Street. If you're able to, and would like to support the Almeida during this time then you can become a member or donate here. All donations are eligible for Gift Aid.