Carole Pluckrose, Artistic Director Boathouse Creative Studios & Writer
January 11th 2021

The challenges of 2020 and now the third lockdown in January 2021 have been tough for everyone. I’ve just been doing the same as everyone – looking for new ways of doing things and summoning up creative projects. I think it’s a question of being agile if you can, because the alternative is to sink into a miserable mess. In this turbulent world, finding ways to create dynamic stability invites a new kind of energy. I have been scared often, but creativity and connectivity with community has been a saving grace.

BD Collective has been outstanding in its ongoing support throughout 2020 and in its ability to keep an ear to the ground. The organisation’s team proactively communicate opportunities for connecting people, come up with ideas and enthusiastically make things happen. I was amazed when one of the team picked up on my daily Facebook live poetry readings and suggested I apply to BD Giving to develop a community poetry project. This resulted in funding from BD Giving and Pen to Print. So, it’s clear to see how incredibly helpful this has been to me personally and the community participants collectively. I have a lot of admiration for the organisation.

My personal, artistic and pragmatic response to the pandemic has been to diversify and it is fortunate that I qualified as a celebrant during this time and am now writing and officiating at funerals which is a huge privilege. Writing and presenting a ceremony for grieving families calls on all my theatre and writing skills and feels like something with profound purpose that has also kept me engaged with community in a new way.

In view of the financial challenges facing venues such as the Boathouse Creative Studios during this time, and indeed the parlous impact on my own living, I quickly decided to develop a portfolio of work so that I would not be entirely reliant on one source. The studios also needed to diversify, so with support from LBBD Film, I have been marketing them for film and photo shoots and permitted rehearsals. We’ve had a few, so holding on in there, determined to weather the storm together as I am passionate about what we have created there.

I’m also delighted that we have just received further funding from Pen to Print for Love Letters Season 2 – A Year in Postcards – a series of 3 seasons of 8 weeks online creative writing workshops which I run in partnership with writer Claire Steele. We are already fully booked for the first 8 weeks with many people on the waiting list. We will be releasing a further eight shortly. I am also doing a Zoom reading with my fellow theatre maker, Ria Knowles, of my play Notes from Dad’s Room on March 19th, supported by Pen to Print also. We are also doing a monthly live Zoom show with a radio station in Iowa and I have connected them up with Pen to Print, something similar to a town twinning. Watch this space.