Today theatre workout turns 16!
The past two years have been quite an eventful time, or uneventful, depending on how you look at it.
Two years ago today we realised how big this Covid-thing was going to be, so instead of celebrating we were crisis planning! I don't think we dealt with it very well when the floor beneath us crumbled, but the good news is that we are still here, still running our workshops, and it feels busier than ever!!!
Whatever way you look at it, 16 is a momentous, landmark achievement for any business. Today is a time to look back and reflect, to celebrate our achievements, learn from our mistakes, and plan ahead to make what we do better than ever.
Our biggest achievement is simply the fact that we have survived, against all the odds - losing all of our income, and many of our partners and clients practically disappearing overnight. Somehow we have managed to find a path and return to doing what we love.
We are also proud that, throughout the pandemic, we have helped set up, and been part of the running of, the London Tourism Cooperative and the Drama and Theatre Education Alliance (DTEA), championing London’s creativity and culture, and the value of that creativity and culture (Drama and Theatre) to children in schools. We continue to work extensively with the DTEA today.
Not only that, but some of the programs we have been trying to establish for many years have finally come to fruition. This past year we have:
Launched after school drama clubs in several schools in London, Slough and Middlesex
Expended our outreach program to deliver amazing theatre experiences in schools across the UK
Created a program for individuals to take part in, in addition to all of our group programs for schools and businesses, etc
Begun setting up official new West End partnerships with major West End productions
None of this would have been possible without the support of family and friends who have kept me going with advice, patience and enthusiasm, particularly my wife, Jo, and my parents. I am also incredibly grateful to Arts Council England and DCMS for the Cultural Recovery Fund grants which have given Theatre Workout the opportunity to exist and thrive, and to our network of schools, teachers and partners who have begun to work with us again.
As we look to the year ahead, we anticipate the return of International school groups to London which, before the pandemic, was about half of our business. We look forward to working in partnership with theatres and shows, with schools and students across the UK and from around the world as they begin to engage with theatre again, and I am more passionate than ever about helping to inspire a new generation of theatre audiences, giving them that same, potentially life-changing experience I had all those years ago, which set me on this path (I still blame my A-Level English teachers and the RSC for that).
I am very grateful to be able to write this through Theatre Workout, when not that long ago I thought it was over. It has just been a (extended) interval, but now Act Two is here, and its going to be awesome!