A Salford theatre and film production company has been bridging the gap between actors and writers in Lockdown by hosting online script readings.
Up ‘Ere productions’ Stacey Harcourt and John O’Neill have curated a way for actors and writers to network and get connected by using zoom calls, to make sure creatives ideas were still getting heard and helped during the lockdown.
When asked about how the initiative first came about, Mr O’Neill said: “Myself and Stacey we’re both actors and writers, we were kind of getting to point where we were missing creativity and missing the creative network around Salford and Manchester”
He went on to say: “We developed ‘the breakfast club’ initiative and it kind of just took off. It started with local writers sending in work and local actors a couple of weeks ago and then last night we hosted our first play where the writer was in New York.”
CALLING ALL CREATIVES:
‘The Breakfast Club’
A new online play reading group for local creatives. The aim of the project is to work with writers currently developing new work & to keep actors acting during #lockdown.
— UP ‘ERE PRODUCTIONS (@ere_up) April 26, 2020
With an overwhelming response from people keen to keep creative during this time, they’ve both had their hands full with eager participants.
Ms Harcourt said: “We’ve been really overwhelmed by the response, we just thought that we were going to put it out, we’ll get a couple of actors to sign up and might end up with like five or ten plays and then just have a nice time with it.
“It turned into a full-time job for the both of us, we just haven’t stopped for the past two weeks, I think we’ve done 13 plays and we’ve used over 70 actors and we’ve got a lot more to go.”
Over the short amount of time this has been taking place, they’ve even managed to get producers from a West Hollywood club to get involved and offer some advice.
“We’ve been really overwhelmed by the generosity of all the writers and all the actors that have been involved because everyone’s kind of volunteering.” Ms Harcourt says.
“We’re volunteering, they’re volunteering and they’re giving up hours of their day to read these scripts and we’ve been so overwhelmed by just how well it’s all gone just by their hard work and willingness to want to do it,”
Over the next three weeks, they believe they make have to do two zoom calls a day to keep up with everything coming in.
Once lockdown ends, they’re thinking of hosting a question and answer session to solidify the online connections that have formed.
Mr O’Neill said: “This was completely new, we’d never done anything online before… it’s new and we kind of just had to play with it and figure it out as we’ve gone along.”
“It’s working, It’s keeping us going and it’s bringing different people together, new people, networking, sharing great stories and sharing ideas.”
When asked about what he was looking forward to after lockdown ends, Mr O’Neill said: “I’m looking forward to the day where I can hug my friends and family again, because that’s relevant,”
To stay updated with Up ‘ere productions, you can find them on twitter @ere_up, @jk_on and @staceyharcourt.