Guest Voice: Victoria Smith on Fundraising for the Arts

The word theatre can mean different things to each of us. An annual family pantomime trip, concert, ballet, opera, play, musical, or even a school concert where you proudly see your child on stage for the very first time. Theatres allow performers to present so many different and exciting genres for audiences to experience.

Live audiences use all their senses to watch dramatic gestures and dance moves, listen to singers, digest language from actors, or tune in to live music of all kinds; a whole experience in one place as you are transported into a special environment of escape and imagination. The theatre is a unique environment to be in and can encourage discussions and thoughts after any type of performance for both adults and children, so a healthy and fulfilling experience can be had by all.

Our daughter is a student training at Northern Ballet on their Centre for Advanced Training Programme and dreams of having a career as a ballet dancer. So as a family we are involved in this great World of the Arts. Music and performance are so important to many of us, regardless of age, ability or experience and our aim is to help the arts not only survive, but continue to thrive.

Currently students at ballet school, performing arts and music colleges are on Zoom classes. Ballet students are at home in their kitchens or wherever there is room to try and carry on training. They are maintaining their strength to keep up a standard that they have been working for years to achieve. We purchased a proper mat and a ballet barre, clearing out the kitchen so Izzy can train! For the Professional Company Dancers in their own homes, it’s difficult to adapt when your instinct is to jump, leap and actively travel across the floor of a studio or stage.

It’s also been hard on your own when used to training with your colleagues as it’s a big family. This just illustrates even more how resilient and focused those in the arts are. This has not only been the case for dancers but also musicians who are used to being in a team environment within the orchestra and those who sing too. However it’s been really commendable and inspirational to see that this Industry over the past year has adapted to still be creative and produce pieces of work digitally or on Zoom and learn new ways for an audience to still enjoy an experience, albeit at home.

I wanted to link up with Theatre Arts Fund to raise funds for Freelancers who have been dramatically affected by the current situation. These are skilled people who have studied at University or trained for years to be a master of their craft. The list of these people is endless! I know I will forget someone but these include choreographers; musicians; lighting engineers; makeup artists; costume makers; set designers; writers; actors; singers; dancers; back stage pastoral; front of house; marketing and the team who transport the set from theatre to theatre! It is such a massive team that’s involved in putting on a performance for an audience to see live.

Having had great success with my campaign #theatrefor1pound, raising money for Northern Ballet and Leeds Playhouse, I’ve decided to carry out an additional project to hopefully help Freelancers with #freelancerfor1pound. I am conscious that every person in all industries has been effected by the current situation, so I’m empathetic to people’s circumstances. I am working on the same principle of donating £1 which I think is a brilliant concept as all the £1’s soon add up, making a big difference! It’s a comfortable ask I believe and the idea has been brilliantly received.

The magical world of theatre needs to continue for years to come so we can immerse ourselves in musicals, dance, drama, concerts, comedy and pantomime. It takes a super talented, dedicated person to perform, they give the audience a piece of their soul! I want to help to ensure that those students training to be in The Arts have an industry to join and those currently within this world can continue to do what they love.

If you would be willing to donate £1, please click here. Thank you.

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