You may have seen that we are doing some ‘updates’ across Social Media about The Tea Rooms and The Turning Tides Project as we build up to ‘normality’ and opening again. These updates are not happening because ‘we have time’, they are things we were doing anyway and have had to wait to make a reality and introduce because we currently do not have our usual open door (due to COVID19).
We will be…
All responses to these updates have been positive, understandably, and we are looking forward to welcoming people into our Tea Rooms and sharing more updates with you.
Some of the responses have got us thinking though… Why isn’t EVERYONE doing this – small businesses, individuals, families, institutions, big businesses?
Thinking about this reminded me of a short story adapted from ‘The Star Thrower’ by Loren C. Eiseley.
It was the ‘mantra’ of somewhere used to work and printed on some of their literature and induction paperwork. I think it sums up the difference people can make rather nicely:
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,
“Well, I made a difference for that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
I would like to invite businesses, individuals, the community to share the changes they will be making to benefit the community. To make a more accessible, inclusive society for us to all live in and benefit from. If we were all more altruistic, we would all benefit.
It is quite a shift of culture, but if we can make that change we will see that change.
A recent meeting in my village with a new mum out walking with her brand-new baby in the sunshine, has prompted me to wonder about those I might not have considered yet during these times. Those people experiencing huge changes and managing different realities to the previously held expectations for summer 2020.
What has it been like for new parents at this time of necessary self-isolation and social distancing?
I remember so clearly the bubble of new-parenthood, the joy at retreating into the new family unit - hours spent gazing and getting to know each other - days blending into themselves and hours passing - time re-framing itself into periods of crazed activity and quiet reflection.
I also remember how much reassurance i needed. I needed my mum close by for those 4am phone calls and panic requests for a visit. I wonder how I would have coped without being able to hand over my toddler or babies (I had twins) for a moment of respite, or to share in the joy of their amazing arrival.
What would it be like for a baby to be held only by their parents for the first few months of their lives?
How will the increased anxiety of this time affect parent-baby attachment? Secure attachment develops from a parent's ability to manage stress, respond to their baby’s cues, and successfully soothe the infant. An interactive, non-verbal, emotional exchange that allows a baby to feel understood and safe. These have been such isolating and challenging times for so many of us. Feeling safe, connected, and nurtured personally has been more difficult than ever. I am left worried that the repercussions of this will ripple on for a while.
What would it be like to have deal with all these issues and have a child that was born different? Would the enforced isolation be an added strain or might it, more positively, be a way of having the necessary space to get your head round it all? Could the fact that everyone is currently isolated mean that other new parents will learn things that might change the future for a generation of new babies? Might parents be united in their experience of now?
We are all having to reflect and shape a sense of what the future might look like? Can we take this opportunity to prioritise inclusion, equal opportunity, and access? Might we become more connected through our experience of this new, different time.
Music making and singing can be a vital support in Early Years. As musicians and educators, we need to be innovators, we need to find new ways of working with integrity, and reflect honestly on what we offer. We need to respond to needs and not race to fill a gap. We need to talk to parents, young children, and settings. We need to listen.
We must keep finding ways to offer support, to notice those voices that are quiet.
Written by Rachel Thame, Published by Dom Palfreman
I am now finally part of the conversation.
For the last year or so Abi and myself have been working on making accessing Theatre a reality for people with ‘Learning Disabilities’ or ‘Autism‘ labels. One of the things we spoke about in our last blog was how almost every other art form can be accessed from your front room in an environment you can control. Other than Theatre. Until now…
There is Theatre everywhere! Due to recent developments companies are choosing to stream certain productions online. Some now have entire online programmes. You can watch anything from productions from The National Theatre to The Dutch National Opera. There is something for everyone. Opera has been streaming for a while now, and Theatres are finally catching – it is exciting.
Why is it exciting? Because it allows people access to Theatre who would not ordinarily be able to access it. Like me. I can now have an informed opinion on things. I can now say ‘I liked that actor’, ‘the production value was good’, ‘that play was not for me’. I now feel like I have the privilege to have my opinion whereas before I only had an informed opinion on the limited amount of productions that have been available to me.
It has gone from being an agenda that I no control over. Where I would be given this one production of a play I could see. Whereas now I have a huge catalogue to choose from. I am now open to so much more Theatre and am able to explore what genres I like, what styles of writing I can play around with and what is achievable in a theatrical space and as a writer that has done me a world of good. It has made me so happy and I feel more positive about Theatre than I have done in years.
So, what about the financial sustainability of Theatres? There have been several high-profile stories of Theatres having financial trouble and a lot of these Theatres have set up live streaming as a way of getting donations and contributions to the Theatre. Some of their shops are also still open for people to buy things from.
When we went into lockdown, I was worried about my world shutting down almost entirely and this time has not gone without its stresses. I was not expecting to feel anything positive at all and certainly was not expecting Theatre to become accessible for me for the first time in my life. It is like the entire new world opened up, and I really don’t want that door to shut for me again.
My question is: Once this pandemic has settled and we are able to access the Theatres again, will this new world still be available for me to access?
Do you want to join in with the conversation? Here are several links to some varied productions. Please read content warnings as you may not like some of the production themes.
Bristol Old Vic:
Schaubuhne Theater Munich
Munich Staatsoper (Munich State Opera)
Dutch National Opera
Gorki Theatre Germany
Manchester Royal Exchange
Written by Chloe and Abi, Published by Dom Palfreman