Eco Drama’s response to COVID-19

Dear friends and supporters,

It goes without saying that it has been an incredibly difficult and challenging time for everyone with the growing coronavirus pandemic. We hope that you are all keeping well at this time.

We would like to share an update about how we at Eco Drama are responding to the COVID-19 situation and what this means for our work and staff.

The Whirlybird – 2020 spring tour

Eco Drama were in the midst of delivering one of our biggest tours to date, with The Whirlybird theatre production set to deliver a 49 date tour in schools, nurseries and venues across the UK, a mix of 32 funded schools dates and 17 dates in venues and schools, which would have generated earned income to pay our staff and fund our future work.

Thankfully, at the point of schools closing, we had delivered 25 of the 32 funded school dates, with only 7 cancelled due to the virus, but very sadly, the majority of our venue bookings were at the end of March and throughout April, and as a result, we are losing a huge chunk of income. After over a year of planning this tour, this comes with a whole mix of emotions not to be able to deliver on these dates; however, we take solace in the fact that what has happened to us is not unique, and we are all in this together.

We very much hope to work with the venues, festivals, schools and nurseries to reschedule these bookings to a later date in 2020 or 2021 once things settle, and we will continue to work with the relevant funders for the cancelled funded school dates to ascertain the best way forward.

Out to Play 2020

Eco Drama’s other main project for 2020 is our creative outdoor learning project Out to Play. We had our first secondary school residency scheduled for May-June 2020, as well as an Early Years CPD session for nursery practitioners across greater Glasgow scheduled in May, which would also see us launching our newly created Early Years Out to Play Resource Pack. We are hoping to re-schedule both of these projects to the autumn, when we also hope to be able to deliver on our 2020 Out to Play primary school residencies from September – November 2020 as planned. Of course, everything right now is very uncertain, but, we are going forward with hope and planning for all eventualities.

Our Self-Employed Staff

Eco Drama are not a regularly funded organisation, and operate on a project to project, year to year basis, with our income coming from many different sources including an intricate mix of funding and earned income from schools and venues.

Despite the majority of the work that was due to be delivered from the end of March to June 2020 relying on income from venues and schools, all of which is now not coming in, Eco Drama have taken the decision as an organisation to honour all of the agreed fees with our freelance staff who were working on both The Whirlybird tour and Out to Play project, and we will pay them their fees in full for work agreed to be delivered from the end of March – end of June 2020 from our reserves. Without the artists we work with, our projects are non-existent and so this decision was a necessity.

We remain hopeful that the dates in schools and venues which have been cancelled will be re-scheduled at a future date, and we look forward to working with all of our contacts and participants as things to settle, to get back on track.

In the meantime, we are sending out a message of solidarity and best wishes to everyone, especially those in the creative sector.

Creative Nature-Connected Resources

To finish on a positive, the thing we are focusing on most in this situation, is that hopefully we will all be connecting with nature a bit more!

Over the coming weeks, we will be looking at how we can share ideas, tips and resources from our Out to Play project, to support parents and carers looking after children and young people at home, as well as sharing activities from our resource pack that supports The Whirlybird production, which includes lots of creative and imaginative activities for everyone to get involved in the outdoors, connecting with and being inspired by nature on our doorstep. We really believe that connecting with nature is what will get us through this period of social isolation, supporting and nourishing not only our physical and mental health, but keeping us inspired and hopeful during this difficult time. And hopefully we all come out the other side not only safe and well, but more deeply connected to our amazing natural world.

Resources will be shared via our social media networks on Facebook and Twitter, and via our mailing list, which you can sign up for here.

All of our best wishes, and we hope everyone stays safe and well over these coming months.

Emily, Nina and the Eco Drama Board