The Gaiety in the pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, The Gaiety Theatre swiftly adapted to continue supporting our community and maintaining cultural engagement. Recognizing our role as more than just a venue for shows, we pivoted swiftly to provide essential services and maintain cultural engagement. Our proactive approach allowed us to remain a vital community hub during these unprecedented times.

This video includes highlights of some of our pandemic activities and you can read more below.

Community Support and Online Engagement

Partnering with 16 local organisations, we managed and directed several hundred thousand pounds in funding to deliver food, clothes, wellbeing support, and other essentials to those in need. Our immediate switch to remote working enabled our staff to continue planning and management activities uninterrupted. And our smallTalk wellbeing service, offered a telephone and online chat service to support community mental health.

Innovative Programming and Productions

The Gaiety embraced new delivery models to keep the arts alive. We transitioned to online and outdoor events, creating around 20 participatory films and the first fully online-devised drama with a multiple cast.

Highlights include:

Miraculous (2020):

A riotous film about an Ayrshire band, produced during lockdown, demonstrating our commitment to creating high-quality content despite restrictions.

Online Panto (2020):

We delivered our first-ever online pantomime, ensuring that families could still enjoy the festive spirit from the safety of their homes.

A Whirl Around The Gaiety:

With support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund we created a film version of our promenade production celebrating The Gaiety heritage.

Jamie and the Unicorn (2021):

An entirely new pantomime tale that captivated audiences with its bold and community-rooted storytelling, delivered to live audiences but under strict Covid precautions.

Stage and Community Activities

Online Drama Workshops:

Hosted weekly for various age groups, these workshops kept young minds engaged and creative even during lockdowns.

Outdoor Theatre Performances

As restrictions eased, we took to parks and public spaces, performing socially-distanced shows to keep the magic of theatre alive.

Remote Collaborative Projects:

Through video calls and online platforms, we worked with artists and communities to create content that resonated with the times, including poignant short films and interactive online experiences

Partnerships and Community Outreach

Food and Wellbeing Support: In collaboration with local charities, we secured and provided funding for food and wellbeing packs to the vulnerable, ensuring no one was left unsupported during these challenging times.

Creative Writing Projects: Engaging communities in writing projects that provided a platform for expressing their pandemic experiences, these projects culminated in online readings and published anthologies.

Ongoing Resilience and Future Planning

We invested in equipment and skills to livestream original theatre, employing numerous freelancers and commissioning leading Scottish theatre makers. Our efforts ensured a continuous flow of artistic output and maintained connections with audiences and artists across Scotland. Additionally, we focused on enhancing our digital capabilities, creating a robust platform for future online and hybrid events.

Through these initiatives, The Gaiety not only navigated the pandemic but also reinforced its position as a resilient and innovative community leader. We continue to plan for future challenges, ready to adapt and thrive in any circumstance.