Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Coronavirus / Creativity connects

As part of our Covid-19 coverage we are asking our readers to contribute short personal, reflective pieces that touch on the many aspects of living through these unprecedented times. Here is how Stephanie Pagulayan of the ALICE theatre project responded to the crisis.

'Imagination is valuable and this is the time to find it and nurture it,' says Stephanie Pagulayan.

WHEN schools closed earlier in March, like most people I was at a bit of a loss as to what I could do to help the community. I’m not an NHS worker or frontline key worker, and – being a working mum – I have been at home attempting to provide some sort of ‘normal’ life for my daughter.

I was heartbroken at the loss of ALICE theatre operations; most of all I deeply miss my students. Supporting their creativity each Saturday afternoon is an absolute joy.  Due to the pandemic we have had to put all operations on hold, including our wonderful children’s theatre student show, which had been scheduled for 27 June.

Stephenie Pagulayan.

My work as a theatre practitioner centres around supporting and developing creative imagination, so I decided to turn my frown upside down and started putting together activities that families could do at home to alleviate the pressure on us all, find a sense of escape and use imagination to somehow cope with this strange and stressful situation.

Since then I have been sharing daily activities through our Facebook page, alongside a (somewhat sketchy!) daily Facebook live post. Each activity has a draw, write, make and do prompt.

The response has been lovely, and really supportive. People seem to be responding well particularly to my live posts, which is not what I expected at all!

It’s not something I’m particularly comfortable with; performing on stage is fine but in front of a camera and speaking as myself is terrifying. But as people have been responding and getting in touch to share positive messages of support, I have continued doing them.

I sat in front of my window the other day to phone someone, and people I have never met were walking past (socially distant of course) and we found ourselves smiling at each other and waving through the window. Being forced into this situation of isolation has actually had the opposite effect of building positive connection between people where it wasn’t there before.

At a time like this it can be difficult to justify reaching for creativity.  It feels indulgent, a bit silly, and non-essential. But for me, it’s about so much more than just filling time.

Creating, in whatever medium you choose, provides escape but also a powerful tool to process and work through overwhelming emotions. This is true for everyone, no matter your age or creative ability. Imagination is valuable and this is the time to find it and nurture it.

I have uploaded all activities on to the ALICE website so people have a ‘one stop shop’ of creative prompts for those moments when folk are trying to find something to inspire or entertain the family.

Please feel free to get in touch and share your thoughts and experiences of what challenges life throws at you right now.

How do you cope with self-isolation, being unable to go to work or see friends, with home education, with loneliness? And what do you do to counter it? Start an Open University course, go through all those family photos or spend more time with friends online?

We look forward to hearing from you at news@shetnews.co.uk