The virus shutdown happened to completely and so fast that it gave no time for planning, speculating or strategising. Since then most people have been searching for ways to function in this strange and complex world.
On Monday 16 March we were recovering form the amazing weekend we'd just had at the SandPit Theatre with our St Albans Best schols' 'Sunlight'. We were packing away ready to take everything on to the Hertford Theatre the following weekend for our Hertford school's show. I was sitting exactly where I'm sitting now with headphones on listening to the Prime Minister's address and within a few sentences it was apparent we had to close down. Immediately. No discussion. Suddenly 22 years of structure, routine and methodology were totally redundant. So we sent out the message within the hour and there then followed an horrendous period of around 3 hours before anyone else made a similar announcement.
And since then? Wow. Us humans are adaptable! We've learned how to work online, we've created unique filmed projects (like Zoomania and Room on the Broom), we've collaborated on projects with people in China, India, France and Germany, we've built a sound studio... I've even learned how to edit and enhance video! Our students have turned teachers, helping us to understand technologies they are much more comfortable with. And our teachers have been absolutely amazing in their commitment, generosity and positivity.
And all of this with the sole aim of Best staying engaged with our people- customers, suppliers, teachers and supporters. It's fair to say we are very proud of how Best Theatre Arts has adapted to meet the challenges of the coronavirus shutdown - it jujsy remains to be seen how much longer this goes on and what our business looks like coming out the other side.
It will be different certainly. It will be exciting. But it won't be easy.