Adapt to survive has been a necessity for many people in 2020 and especially those who work in theatre. The industry has suffered enormously at the hands of COVID-19, with many theatres closed for much of the year and the social distancing and group rules making it difficult to see how this could change in the near future. However, theatre is an industry full of resourceful people and many of them have started turning their creative energies to crafts that not only make the perfect christmas gifts but also mean you can support the industry too.
Art for Christmas
Many of those who have worked in theatre all over the world have used it as inspiration to create art that would make the perfect Christmas gift this year. Harriet Cox is a wardrobe supervisor and has worked on productions such as Matilda and Nativity - she has created beautiful line drawings of specific theatres, which start at £12 each. Actor Peter Hannah has produced pen and ink designs of West End theatres while photographer Helen Murray has captured some beautiful, atmospheric moments from theatre life and is selling the prints on her website.
Games and books
Andrew Keates is a director who has worked at the likes of Trafalgar Studios. He has not only gone on to create prints and show posters but also a version of the Monopoly Board which he has called Actopoly. The game replaces the classic properties of Monopoly with the theatres of the West End. Charlie Ryall is an actor and during lockdown set up the Sustainable Book Club. Buyers get a vintage book from Charlie’s father’s collection (her father is the actor David Ryall) as well as other treats, such as “something to sip and something to nibble on.” Children’s books require plenty of imagination, something that theatre folk have a lot of - choose from the tales available at Rare Monkey books (created by actors Joanne Gale and Jeffrey Mundell) or the illustrated stories of Freddie and Polo written by director Guy Unsworth.
Sculpture and glass
Designer Max Dorey has used the opportunity of lockdown to create impressive sculptures with a steampunk theme, all of which are made from recycled materials. If you’re looking for something really unusual and distinctive to give as a gift this year (to others or yourself), Anna Watson - a lighting designer - has created some beautiful, colourful stained glass panels.
Portraits for everyone
Pet portraits have become a thing in the past couple of years and if you have a pampered pooch or a much loved feline that you’d like to capture in art then writer and director Aimee Cross can do it. For those who would rather have a portrait of themselves Charlotte McGuinness has been shooting ‘lockdown doorstep portraits.’ This clever idea is part of the photography business that this actor has established as COVID-19 has continued to roll on this year.
Supporting the theatre looks different this year in these COVID times - rather than buying tickets to productions you can show your support with stocking fillers created by people in the arts instead.