Croydonites Theatre festival continues online with Teatro Vivo collecting stories from community

By Edmund Magnus
March 29 2020, 12.00

With every holiday, every festival, every concert and sporting fixture rapidly evaporating before our eyes, our desolated calendars offer nothing but crossings out and broken dreams. 

The Croydonites Festival of New Theatre is another cultural victim to fall foul of Covid-19. 

It was set to take place this weekend and would have showcased an array of local theatre, bringing some of the best contemporary performance work from around the UK to Croydon’s doorsteps. 

Festival participant Teatro Vivo has decided to shift its focus online with the creation of the ‘Grimms’ Collecting Agency’. 

The mission is simple – to source real stories, whether of neighbourly generosity or just the brilliantly ludicrous tales, sad or hilarious, that people are willing to share in this time of Covid 19. 

Joint artistic director of Teatro Vivo, Mark Stevenson, 47, said: “Our hope always is that people realise how brilliant their local community is, so they value it and keep supporting it and keep supporting other people when everything is so bleak.

“We want to know the ways people are getting through this period, the problems they are facing and the things people look forward to.”

Teatro Vivo is based in south London and has been creating theatre since 2005. 

The intention has always been to collaborate with communities and audiences and transform everyday environments into magical worlds. 

Mark Stevenson in action for Teatro Vivo

The company makes theatrical productions in any non-theatre venue, whether a supermarket, park, high street or even a private home. 

They will be holding online interviews with people in a bid to assess the state of our beleaguered nation.

Mark explained that they want to hear from anyone who might have a story to tell. 

They will use video, written and audio content for their production. 

He also also explained they will be using stories from children’s writing drama groups as well as transforming some peoples stories into songs. 

He said: “We want people to feature in the videos they upload, but we will also be willing to tell people’s stories if they are uncomfortable doing it themselves. 

“We will also use some performative elements, we want to push towards the magical and amazing.” 

If you would like to book a video interview slot with the Grimms you can do so by visiting their website or emailing [email protected].

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