We Miss You!

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A year since closing their doors to the public due to Covid, theatre and arts venues support a national #WeMissYou campaign.

Theatres and entertainment venues across Wales on 16th March are marking 12 months since the curtains came down temporarily, due to the Covid pandemic.  SPAN is one of those venues who had to close their doors. One year on, our message is that we miss you – the staff, the volunteers and the audience and we look forward to welcoming you all back as soon as it is safe to do so.

On 16th March we are involved in the #WeMissYou #HiraethuAmdanat campaign organised by Creu Cymru, the development agency for theatres and art centres in Wales. Messages are being shared on their social media accounts telling people how much they miss them.

Despite being closed to the general public, we have been working hard during this challenging period for the arts. Physical audience may not have been allowed in, but for us the show has gone on, supporting the local community during the Covid pandemic and moving performances and outreach activity online to reach new audiences. We have been creative, offering our audiences theatrical and creative experiences from the comfort and safety of their homes.

Image: Weaving workshop with Nia Lewis

We have brought the arts to rural Pembrokeshire for the last 30 years. But since closing our building and live events programme due to Covid-19 regulations we have operated exclusively online.

We are a strong advocate of the power of the arts to improve wellbeing, connect people and tackle loneliness and isolation in rural communities by bringing people together through creative experiences. So as many other arts institutions were forced to close their doors and operations during the pandemic, we are proud to have been able to continue to offer a creative community service to the people of Pembrokeshire at this most challenging time and to keep people creatively connected from home throughout the pandemic.

“The program put together by Span has helped me by giving me a reason keep my life as normal as possible, a reason to get out of bed get dressed and have a shave!”

“I felt shut away but the project has given me a whole new lease of life”

Image: Scene from Theatr Soffa Production Under Milk Wood.

People have been able to take part in a wide range of online events and activities with anything from online singing groups to live streamed gigs, online artist-led workshops in welsh folk singing, poetry, dance, craft and puppetry and even Theatr Soffa, a series of live streamed online community plays performed in English and Welsh via zoom and much more!

As a small 3rd sector arts organisation, we have punched well above our weight. We have been agile and able to quickly adapt to the changing needs of the crisis. We were already coming to the end of a 2 year research and development project (funded by ACW and Leader funding) which looked at new ways to open up culture across the whole of Pembrokeshire by using technology more creatively. So we were able to quickly roll out a series of innovative new projects when the first lockdown hit Wales.


Image: Marionette puppet bird workshop with Di Ford

Theatres and entertainment venues are one of the few sectors in Wales that has remained closed throughout the pandemic, but we have been creative to offer our audiences some online experiences.

One year on, Creu Cymru Director Louise Miles-Payne said:

“We wanted to unite theatres across Wales and what better way to do that than with a rainbow. It is a symbol that we are still here and waiting for the return of our audiences, staff, and performers.

Theatres and arts centres play a vital role in the arts economy in Wales. From small studios to big-budget stages, theatre and the performing arts are part of the fabric of Welsh life. Towns, villages and cities the breadth of Wales, have and use theatres for more than seeing a show – they are spaces for many different groups in the community to come together to learn, socialise and create. Theatres are often the heartbeat of the local community. They bring people together to laugh, cry, rejoice and learn. They have continued to do this during this uncertain time.”

“We’ve been working closely with Welsh Government Officials and the Deputy Minister on the safe reopening of our theatres. We hope that this will be allowed soon when the situation improves”.

We are waiting for further Welsh Government guidance to know when we will be able to open again to the public. Once this is confirmed, we will share our plans with you.

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