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Wednesday, 8 July, 2020

Dear Members,

I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

How time flies, it is now just on four months since lockdown was implemented back in March, from which we are slowly but surely easing out of, as you well know. The good news also is that, after so much of the arts and culture sectors has been staring into the abyss, the government has at long last thrown out a lifeline - a £1.57bn emergency support package to help protect the future of theatres, galleries and museums. Sadly too late for some already and regrettably many others will not survive, but we can only hope that the majority will. Now, whether we will benefit at all it is too early to tell, although I do feel that we are a long way down the food chain, but nevertheless we will await further guidance. We are fortunate though not to be on the brink, at least for the time being.

With regard to when the theatre can open again, I am afraid that doesn't look as though it will be any time soon. The government has set out a five stage plan for theatres to open, but as yet with no dates, so we just have to wait and see how this plan develops.

Now, what has been happening? As you know in May we held the 'PLAY ON THE RADIO' festival which, with fifteen entries, proved to be a great success. So what next? Well, a small group of our actors have jumped onto the idea of live streaming, and/or recording and streaming, a play that lends itself to social distancing, and to this end have already sourced a suitable one-act play. At this stage I am not at liberty to tell you what the play is or when the streaming might take place, but I do believe a first read through has been due to take place this week, on Zoom of course! Watch this space for further information as and when it becomes available.

If anyone else feels that they would like to do similar, then please contact the chairman of our production committee, John Winson, on jwinson1955@hotmail.co.uk or 07812 318893.

Also looking to the future, with a view to the theatre engaging more with the local community, please see below a brief overview from Kerrie Thompson, our MLT Youth Leader, of an online workshop four of us took part in this week:

On Tuesday this week, myself, Chris Loft (Chairman), Cazz Wrate (Membership Secretary), and Mic Aldington (Stage Director) took part in a Zoom community engagement workshop as part of the Medway Cultural Strategy 2020-2030 interim consultation organised by GJG Consulting, RMR Research and The Audience Agency. They are working with Medway Cultural Partnership and Medway Council to develop a ten-year cultural strategy and a pathway to apply for City of Culture status.

Sounds a bit of a mouthful and a bit complicated but it did have some incredibly interesting points.

With this in mind I thought it would be a great opportunity to discuss the issues brought out at this meeting with MLT members and start to plan our own strategies and how to integrate these into the larger creative direction of Medway over the next 10 years.

This is a work in progress and ever-evolving, and the more input we have the better. I will hold a Zoom meeting on Wednesday 15th July at 8.00pm. Anyone interested in participating please email mltyouth@outlook.com and I’ll send you the link. The more voices taking part in the devising the better. Please take a look at medwayculturalstrategy.co.uk for further information. If you want any further info please get in touch with me and I’ll try to help: mltyouth@outlook.com


This workshop, and I think I can speak for us all, we found extremely interesting and quite an eye opener on my part insofar as I hadn't realised how many different organisations existed in and around Medway. So, as Kerrie has stated, if anyone would like to participate in the Zoom meeting next week to find out more, please email Kerrie as per the details above.

Finally, if anyone has any news they would like to share with other members, please just email our central mailbox: info@mlt.org.uk

That's all for now!

Best wishes to you all,

Chris Loft
Medway Little Theatre