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Show goes on despite COVID and Eunice

The adage “the show must go on” was certainly true at Half Moon recently. In our Community View column in the Docklands and East London Advertiser, Communications Manager Stephen explains how COVID and Storm Eunice didn’t stop Party.

Read the Docklands and East London Advertiser e-edition

The show went despite COVID-19 and Eunice

Two weeks ago we launched our joyful new show Party to an excited audience of local children, parents and carers, before a 10-venue UK tour. It was an incredibly special occasion as the performance marked the first time we have opened a brand new Half Moon live show for two years.

Party was conceived, created and rehearsed during the 2021 lockdown. It was filmed without an audience over two performances and premiered on 6 February 2021 as part of our season of nine live-recorded digital shows.

We didn’t know at the time if there would be a future life for the show, but, as we emerged from lockdown, we realised that this heartfelt, provocative and quirky celebration of difference was exactly what everyone needed and set about turning it into a “live” show.

The original actor who had helped devise the production was committed to other projects, so we found a fantastic performer who has made the role his own. However, things haven’t been straight forward. Just as we were about to start rehearsals COVID once again reared its head when one of the team caught the virus.

Preparations continued remotely, but this was difficult. We needed to capture the live experience, which couldn’t be rehearsed via Zoom. How will an audience react? Where should the actor’s focus be? A camera lens at head height is hugely different to seated children.

Thankfully rehearsals soon resumed. But, as we readied the theatre for the premiere, Storm Eunice struck! Most people managed to make their way to the theatre and there were excited cheers and smiling faces. The tour had finally begun. Party had come full circle – it was conceived in isolation but was now playing to packed crowds.

I end with more good news. Our digital production of Dust (a co-production with Z-arts) has just won an Off West End Award for Best Theatre for Children Aged 5-11. The live production was sadly cancelled after its final rehearsal, when the country went into lockdown, so we’re delighted that the filmed production has been recognised. The award-winning show can be watched via our On Demand platform for just £7. Do take a look.

Stephen Beeny is the Communications Manager at Half Moon.

Discover more about the creation of Party

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