Date issued: 22 September 2020
Back in March, Colchester Borough Council announced the successful applicants for its Creative Events Fund.
Twenty-four successful projects were awarded financial grants amounting to £20,000 by a panel led by Cllr Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Performance and Deputy Leader of the Council. The projects awarded grants covered a wide spectrum of creative endeavours across the borough – from music, theatre and art, to creative writing, photography and the digital arts – showcasing the huge depth of creativity that is happening across Colchester’s communities.
Sadly, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, an exciting year of creative and community events has been severely disrupted by Covid-19. However, with the support of the council and the huge resilience of the local creative community, many of the original projects have now been adapted to suit what has become the ‘new normal’ and have now either happened or are forging ahead.
From ‘All The Town’s A Stage’, a socially-distanced open air theatrical performance in Colchester’s Castle Park, to outdoor art classes at the Munnings Art Museum in Dedham; from online concerts presented by the Roman River Festival, to a new historic trail in Wivenhoe and a themed colouring ‘zine’ produced by local artists to celebrate Colchester’s heritage – residents have had numerous opportunities to engage and get creative during these challenging times.
With more to come over the next few months, including a 24-hour Comic Challenge Colchester and Black History Month in October, the council will continue to support grassroots arts and creativity across our communities, honouring grants awarded to other events postponed until next year.
In addition, the council’s three strategic arts partners have taken a leading role in supporting both the creative and wider community through lockdown and beyond – despite the challenges these organisations face. Success stories include Firstsite’s ‘Art Is Where The Home Is’ pack, which features activities from well-known artists such as Grayson Perry, Antony Gormley, and Sarah Lucas – all completely free. The town’s beloved Mercury Theatre entertained many families during a very difficult time by streaming their Christmas pantomime for free for families to enjoy, and a daily dose of thought-provoking poetry is on offer courtesy of Anthony Roberts and Colchester Arts Centre.
Councilor Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Performance and Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “This year has proved to be challenging for everybody across the whole country. The creative, cultural and arts sector has been hit particularly badly due to its very nature, however it has been truly inspirational to see how many of the projects awarded grants earlier in the year, as well as our strategic partners, have found workable ways to still provide high-quality events for the residents of Colchester.
“Creative events aid wellbeing, bring joy and comfort and bring communities together, and the council will continue to work with the projects awarded funding to help Colchester’s creative community thrive.”