and welcome to the Theatre Directors Scotland April newsletter! This month we have some special announcements due to the C-19 pandemic, you won't be surprised to read.
First and foremost, we do actually hope you are well. These are strange times and we wish to offer solidarity and support to our members and friends. We know many of you will be faced with cancelled or postponed work, money issues and frustration over the lack of safety nets in our sector, especially for most freelancers. As directors, we rely on other people to collaborate with to do our jobs and so our hands are especially tied with the current social distancing measures. Of course, we respect and support the actions theatres and the government have taken to ensure public safety, but it doesn't mean we don't find it tough. So we at Theatre Directors Scotland want to help as much as we can.
What we are doing to support you in this time:
We want as many directors to access help as possible so we are extending perks to pending members, meaning if you sign up today we will not demand the full payment of membership but rather ask that you agree a payment plan with us. You will then become a pending member and enjoy membership benefits. We hope this means finances will not be a barrier for folk enjoying our services in these difficult times. Email us to request membership at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are reaching out to the sector to urge the industry to employ directors when making responsive content over the next few months. We also ask them to include directors and assistant directors in their plans for projects once the restrictions have been lifted.
The report from our Big Sector Meeting last October is being sent out. Some of the pledges made then have already been put into action, creating more opportunities for directors in Scotland. We are immensely proud of this and hope that the rest will follow suit as soon as possible.
We are linking our members and playwrights to collaborate on material in lockdown (and hopefully beyond) under the name Friends for the End of an Era, in partnership with our friends at Playwrights’ Studio Scotland.
We are connecting with the Tron's Build programme to facilitate online readings of new work and members will receive call outs to direct regularly.
We are also putting together a panel of experts to share their experiences of directing online so that we can help each other adjust to this new virtual reality. More on that soon.
We are facilitating a buddy system for our members during the crisis we call Direct Lines. This is a scheme to support each other mentally as well as sharing discoveries, practice and funny gifs.
Additionally, if anyone in our wider network is struggling and just needs to talk to someone in private, you can drop us a line to email@example.com stating you would like to speak to a Mental Health First Aider and we will forward you to one of ours.
We have started a twitter connecting hashtag #TDSDirectAddress to help you find like-minded creatives in Scotland. This will run monthly. Follow us on twitter (@DirectorsScot) to keep in touch with this. As always our Facebook group is full of useful info from members so head there for all you need to know about funding and support as well as a weekly warm up and other fun things.
We are gathering data about directors' opportunities and income so that we have evidence to back up our plea for further support for creative development of directors from the funding bodies. It is vital that we have your response so please do fill out the survey here https://forms.gle/HaibRmF6FByrpdAt7 .
We hope these resources are useful to you and that they offer a bit of connection and creative influence in times of isolation. If there is anything else we can do for you please do ask (email or DMs).
GO SEE OUR UPCOMING WORK [ONLINE]
There has been an outpour of great content online live streamed or pre recorded, all directed by fabulous talent, but we won't tell you about all of them. The entry below was submitted through our newsletter call out. Feel free to drop us a line if you want to be included in our May Newsletter.
The Edinburgh Passion
The city-wide community project, The Edinburgh Passion, had to be cancelled due to coronavirus, however, the creative team are putting up a series of reflections on the Passion journey on the website, www.edinburghpassion.com, which aim to capture the spirit of the project. Because The Edinburgh Passion aimed to tell the story in real time, there will some creative "food for thought reflections" for most of the story, including through the nights, starting with the Last Supper on Thursday 9th April and finishing at 9am on Easter Sunday. Each reflection will offer an opportunity to connect with part of the story, and with aspects of our community in Edinburgh.
Produced by Suzanne Lofthus
OPPORTUNITIES AND SUPPORT
Here are some opportunities and support:
Creative Scotland Impact Funds. £2m fund to help artists and freelancers with grants of between £500 and £2,500.
COVID-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme. This scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month
Universal Credit. If you are ineligible for the above or cannot wait until June.
SURGE online cabaret artist call-out.
NTS Scenes for Survival writers call-out.
TDS MEMBER OF THE MONTH
Suzanne has been Director of Cutting Edge Theatre
for 25 years and works mainly in community theatre and with those who don't always manage to access theatre. At the heart of her work is the belief that theatre can make a difference in the world. Her work is diverse, always believing in people's ability and enjoying nurturing potential.
She works in prisons here and overseas [the photo above is of the Life of Christ
production in Angola Prison, Louisiana] as well as setting up the INSPIRE project which uses drama techniques to help those with disabilities become more confident. This work is now expanding into Springboard, working with others in Scotland to develop drama training pathways for people with learning disabilities. Suzanne also specialises in Passion Plays both traditional and modern, performed in Scotland and in several prisons overseas [USA, Brazil and Italy]. Suzanne has also written a number of plays and, with Ian Hammond Brown, has written several musicals.
Currently [well, once Covid19 has passed] she is working on creating a "real time" Passion play which will now be produced in Easter 2021. This aims to bring the city together to tell a story about breaking down barriers, loving one another and tolerance. Click here
for a flavour of what it will look like and groups can still get involved! Suzanne is also working with the INSPIRE Fife group on their first production called Perchance to Dream,
working with male and female prisoners in HMP Greenock to create a new play and also beginning work on a new musical based on a 1940s Hollywood film/book. Watch this space...
Thanks for reading - hope to see you at one of our events post-quarantine!
Theatre Directors Scotland