Wigan & Leigh Community Theatre project – A Year On Zoom


A Year On Zoom

One year on from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Healthy Arts created a project for local actors and writers who were missing being creative due to the closure of community arts venues.

With support from the Local Connections Fund, local writers and members of the amateur theatre sector were brought together online in a series of sessions that included opportunities for people to reconnect and make new friends while brushing up their writing and performance skills.

Some Actors involved

The idea of charting events throughout the previous twelve months developed into a dynamic project that captured attitudes and experiences throughout the various lockdowns. 18 pieces of new writing were nurtured by Julie McKiernan and 21 performers were coached by Martin Green in a series of monologues and duologues filmed on Zoom. There was also some one-to-one coaching on comedy technique, led by local comedian Chris Boyle.

This powerful record of 12 difficult months in a history of our time has been given the title “A Year On Zoom”, reflecting how communication changed for us all. The individual scenes are being released on social media throughout April and the full film will be available at the end of the month.

One participant, John Naughton, said: “I was delighted to be part of this project as, like most people involved in theatre, I was missing enormously the camaraderie, the discipline of having to learn lines and of portraying a character. This project is a splendid way of documenting the evolving events and issues surrounding Covid and the dramatic and unforeseen effect on our lives.”

Local writers are: Elaine Garner, Tony Topping, Marilyn Payne, Janet Critchley, Kate Pashley, Keith Williams, Joan Patrick, Barbara Roberts, Maria Byrne, Jan Porteus, Scott Davenport, Helen Lloyd, Sammy Holden, Erica Dawn, Shaun Fallows, Kelly Cassidy, Sharon Godiff Pulido, Dave Withington.

The performers include: Erica Dawn, Emma Appleton, Susan Rigby, Julia Walsh, Lisa Jane Aldred, Peter Hall, Sheila Hinds, John Naughton, Stacey Vernon, Lucy Gregory, Kevin Shirley, Maria Lowe, Colette Davies-Kerwin, John Dudley, Andrew Holt, Hannah Roughton, June Dowd, Shaun Fallows, Megan Price, Loraine Knockton, Linda Davies.

Follow Healthy Arts on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook to view the films. There is no cost to view this work thanks to Government funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund. www.healthyarts.org.uk

Healthy Arts is a not-for-profit organisation of North West arts professionals who deliver workshops and projects to enhance the mental and physical wellbeing of individuals and/or for the benefit of the community. Healthy Arts aims to provide a range of creative activities and events for local people within Wigan and Leigh. We have gained a solid reputation for delivering well-researched projects using professional and community actors.

View the films here: www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Y_SpphJ_4Vvy8iyjk1hKQ

List of Scenes

Dark SkiesElaine GarnerErica Dawn
Taking StockTony ToppingEmma Appleton
Lockdown in AprilMarilyn PayneSusan Rigby
Keeping GoingJanet CritchleyJulia Walsh
Supermarket SweepKate PashleyLisa Jane Aldred
Right To RoamKeith WilliamsPeter Hall
The Pandemic WalkJoan PatrickSheila Hinds
Doubting ThomasBarbara RobertsJohn Naughton & Stacey Vernon
College GirlMaria ByrneLucy Gregory
All In A Day’s WorkJan PorteousKevin Shirley Maria Lowe
Hallowe’enScott DavenportMartin Green & Colette Davies-Kerwin
The InternSammy HoldenJohn Dudley & Andrew Holt
Shape YourselfErica DawnJune Dowd & Julia Walsh
Christmas EveHelen LloydHannah Roughton
No Options & No ExerciseShaun FallowsShaun Fallows
Hilarious HousewivesKelly CassidyMaria Lowe & Megan Price
Lonely HeartsSharon Godiff PulidoLoraine Knockton & Linda Davies
PatienceDave WithingtonJohn Dudley