2020: Creating Theatre in Lockdown

Here at Union House Theatre, we’ve transferred our entire program online and developed new modes of connecting, communicating and being creative together.

Originally published in 2020

2020 Artistic Director’s Report

Artists constantly respond and adapt. It’s what we do to keep art relevant, ideas fresh and push boundaries.

This desire to navigate new terrain is even the reason some of us are artists in the first place – to reflect, comment, make sense of the world or be part of a change. Great periods of art have come out of the most difficult and challenging times in history – and whilst we’re still to truly understand the impact of COVID on theatre and young artists, we can be certain that we’ve been changed this year at least. Here at Union House Theatre, we’ve transferred our entire program online and developed new modes of connecting, communicating and being creative together.

Virtual intensives and workshops, digital art-making projects, solo practice, technical videos and artist development initiatives have been the staple of activities with students in 2020. Moving online was challenging for people who love being in theatres and rehearsal rooms together. But silver linings now mean that this temporary transition has allowed for access to theatre in new ways. Maybe people who couldn’t be part of our programs before felt a new ease and freedom to participate; and we’ve been able to keep connected with our students who needed to move out of Melbourne – wherever their homes may be.

The Student Theatre Groups have transformed the way they work too – developing Zoom plays, workshops and bringing online sketch shows, films, virtual residencies and developments to their members and audience. Emerging artists playing in fledging forms and thriving.

We’re longing to be in rehearsal rooms again – connecting with people face to face and getting to know a whole new generation of artists and audience. We’re grateful for what we’ve learned during this year – demonstrating that a pandemic can’t keep our community from being creative.

In my role as Artistic Director at Union House Theatre where I work with young and emerging artists, I cannot ignore how the pandemic will affect them. But also, I believe that the young people in our community hold answers. I’m continually inspired by the strength and willingness of the members of the UHT community. This year is no different – thanks to everyone who was part of UHT in 2020 – whether you participated in one of our programs for the first time or are a seasoned regular – we look forward to a bright future together.

Xanthe Beesley
Artistic Director/Theatre Coordinator, Union House Theatre

You can read the full report here:
Union House Theatre – Year in Review 2020