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We're Virtually Just Beginning

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

Written by Elyse

This week marks 3 months since Moonbeam Theatre was accepted onto the Graduate Theatre Company Scheme at the University of Kent. In this time, we’ve been exploring what makes Moonbeam what it is; what our identity is as a company, what unique qualities and interests each one of us can bring to the group and what sort of experience we want to create for our audiences.

As we all expected when we stepped into this opportunity, it hasn’t been the easiest time in history to set up a theatre company. Some theatres unknowingly closed their doors for the final time back in March, while new social distancing measures around live performances have given other venues a glimmer of hope for the time being…but things are still changing constantly. We had our doubts about whether we wanted to begin now or if we should put it off until a ‘better time’. The longer we considered it, the more it became apparent that we don’t know what lies ahead and if now is the time this opportunity has been given to us, then now is the best time to do it!

We knew things would have to be done differently, and the possibility of doing performances virtually was in the back of our minds, as the four of us tried to get our little company off of the starting blocks (over many glitchy Zoom calls). But we also wanted to be prepared for if live performances were made possible for us, so we considered ways of playing with social distancing in the costumes we could wear and sensory props that could be engaged with at a distance. The idea of going virtual was a last resort in our minds, not something to be considered at the very beginning.

However, with the Prime Minister’s latest address to the nation clearing up any confusion surrounding the length of time that social distancing and the Rule of Six would be in place, we’ve come to realise that we were wrong to see virtual performances as a ‘second best’ medium and that they are the best thing that is available to our audience right now! Putting our own wants behind the needs of our audience will be a never-ending learning process and, looking back, it has been positive to experience this right at the start of our company’s life!

So, with this in mind we have had a huge brainstorm of ideas for virtual performances and during that process our sense of play emerged in a way that I was not anticipating. What originally seemed like a restriction, we have newly embraced with a light heart and open mind. Having said that we are living in a time when theatre ‘in the flesh’ is inaccessible, there has never been a better time to create theatre that so many people can access! We’re looking forward to exploring how Moonbeam’s identity can develop through this time, as we connect with our audience in a virtual space!

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