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Talking Lockdown 2

by on 21 May 2021

Flourishing in Adversity

Talking Lockdown, Episode Two

Arts Richmond, 19th of May and on YouTube

Review by Simone de Almeida

The second instalment of Art Richmond’s popular Talking Lockdown series was a breath of fresh air and familiarity amidst the constant change and chaos that seems to define the ‘new normal’ we have begun to settle into.   It brought a warmth that truly strengthened the sense of community that has often been hard to find during lockdown, due to social distancing and other safety precautions, that have prevented us from reconnecting to our loved ones and getting back in touch with the things we enjoy.

Following a warm welcome from Sir Vince Cable, we were joined by a panel of distinguished guests with careers in artistic and literary fields, who provided their insight into how lockdown has affected them and their individual professions, and sharing their experiences on what has truly been an unprecedented period.

The talk delved into the unique experiences of news reporters, theatre producers, opera directors, and poets, shining a light on other aspects of lockdown we don’t often get the chance to learn of or think about.  This was especially true of the discussions on the changes that have had to be made, and the amount of effort and work that had gone on behind the scenes in order to keep events and experiences running as smoothly as possible within lockdown guidelines, which we have all been a little guilty of neglecting to appreciate!

One of the guest speakers was the BBC presenter Geeta Guru-Murthy, who provided her insight into how the BBC has had to adapt its interviews due to lockdown and these unprecedented circumstances, such as teaching the presenters how to look good on online calls.  She also detailed how they have dealt with covering international news such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, events which have taken up large portions of the news and have garnered considerable news coverage due to how widespread the concern is.

We were also joined by Nicholas George of Instant Opera, and Sophie Denney of the Richmond Theatre, who shared how their jobs in the entertainment industry have had to change due to the pandemic and the new rules that have come with it.  They explained how they have adapted their productions to either be available online or socially distanced, so that they can continue to run as normally as possible and still bring the magic of the theatre to people, despite the new restrictions.

Our final guest was none other than the renowned poet Roger McGough, who discussed the impact lockdown has had on his poetry, and how he conveys world issues and the struggles of people around him in his work.  We were also lucky enough to hear him read his wonderful poem Let’s Hear It for Poetry, which both encapsulated and celebrated the beauty of poetry, and how profound an impact it can have on our lives.

All in all, the evening was a beautiful and most definitely memorable one, and served as a reminder that despite all the changes that surround us, we are brought together by our love for art, and the sense of community that has done nothing but grow and flourish through these difficult times.

Simone de Almeida, May 2021

Photography by James Coughlin, Burt Dolby, and Arts RIchmond

Simone De Almeida is one of the younger reviewers writing on Mark Aspen.  When twelve years old, she was awarded the distinction of Senior Laureate in Arts Richmond’s Young Writers Festival 2020.  Her poem Requiem was the subject of a featured Poem Preview article.

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