Theatre in the time of Covid

Four performers, waving colourful cloths which are blurred by motion

Unlock the Chains Collective, 2021

The last eighteen months have been tumultuous times for theatre and live performance. Reflecting on our recent Knowledge Exchange event series, Ruth Moore, TORCH Theatre and Performance Officer, wrote on some key themes for the University's Arts Blog:

When theatres shut on 16 March 2020, no one imagined that ‘going dark’ would last so long and cost so much.

As the weeks dragged on, theatre historians reminded us of closures for plague and war in the 16th century and the Blitz, and speculated about how quickly live performance would bounce back. For theatre decision-makers in Oxford and around the world, the 21st century calculations were terrifying. In the UK, the government's Cultural Recovery Fund grants made the difference for some, but others were not so fortunate. And the plight of freelance artists, the lifeblood of the theatre industry, is well documented.

Here at TORCH, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, we watched from the wings, supporting our projects to adapt, and seeking ways to amplify conversations about the future of live performance.  We find ourselves in another uncertain phase. Theatres are legally able to operate at full capacity, but there are continuing concerns over self-isolating cast members and anxious audiences. Here we look back at some of the emergent themes of theatre in a pandemic.

Read the full article.

New opportunities to take part in our projects are coming up in autumn 2021 - keep an eye on the TORCH website and social channels for more details.