Salford Arts Theatre

Salford Arts Theatre’s survival is crucial to many. The theatre has long been a local landmark, drawing on Salford’s rich arts history, it’s been the host of countless productions. 

As well as encouraging acting and drama in children, Salford arts theatre also faces the wave of uncertainty which is currently affecting the entire theatre industry in the UK.

Roni Ellis & Scott Berry are Joint Artistic Directors of Salford Arts Theatre – 2020 is our 13th year running Salford Arts Theatre which was formerly called Salford Playhouse

How has lockdown been for you so far – both personally and professionally?
Personally, there have been a mix of up and downs. The up being refection and although cliché you look at what is truly important to you and time to assess. The downs being the lack of physical contact and seeing people.

Professionally it has been pretty worrying not being open and wondering if you will be able to go back to the thing you love. This year was a pretty busy year so having to cancel or reschedule performances has had a massive effect.

Do you have any plans for reopening?
Initially we are starting to put plans together and are preparing the Fourth Wall Bar to open in the next couple of weeks. Obviously we have to put a lot in place with regards to health and safety of customers and anyone working. With regards to the theatre we are discussing ways in which we can continue to create and perform and keep in line with government guidelines. We have to look at new ways of bringing theatre to our audiences.

What changes will you have to make to open again – is this even possible to plan for?
There are lots of changes we have to make with regards to opening from sanitisers to sneeze guards, one way systems to thorough cleaning of the building. Also reduced numbers will this work with regards to safety and viability. For the theatre we shall have to keep listening to the guidelines for further instructions.

Tell us about the remote work you were doing with your young performers during lockdown.
Over the lockdown we have been working with our young performers company with their responses and reactions to the changes they have experienced.

Each week I have tried to give them a task to do ready for the next session. I have been really pleased how it has worked from creating short filming projects, stick puppet theatre, Poetry, creating a short play, learning a new accent (General American) and I could go on. We have kept them pretty busy.

I have also worked with professional actor Megan Challinor who has performed a piece of work by Alex Clarke. We have worked with both creatives on the last Shelagh Delaney Day. This work can be viewed via our website and our Youtube channel.

Mediacity’s ‘Box on the Docks’ brings safe dining and public art together

Do you feel the government has done enough to help the arts? What’s your reaction to the grant funding announced?
I think it was slow in coming although we are pleased they have come up with the goods as they say. Theatres and the creative industry are not out of the woods yet. Our worry is small theatres like our selves will miss out and the money will go to those bigger regional theatres but we shall just have to wait and see when more details come through with regards to how and what we can apply for.

Do you get a sense there’s a new appreciation for arts after lockdown?
I am not sure if there is a new appreciation for the arts however I do think now people go out more they will see a difference with regards to what is on offer – no live music at the moment and music playing lower in pubs etc. I think without realising people have found ways to stay active and sane during the lockdown and a lot of the time it has been something creative. Whether that be dancing singing, drawing or writing with their loved ones. Salfords Arts Theatre’s Survival will be crucial to many.

www.salforartstheatre/lockdown or – What Do I know By Alex Clarke performed by Megan Challinor – The View From My Window By Salford Arts Theatre’s Young Performers Company XX – So It Continues By Salford Arts Theatre’s Young Performers Company – A Selection of Poems By Salford Arts Theatre’s Younger Performers

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