Since our last update in September we have been keeping busy with some enjoyable projects and also advocating for our sector in these difficult times. Here’s an overview of the end of 2020.
Energy For Children
We were approached by Phoenix Natural Gas to create a video for their Energy For Children Charity which would enable them to gain some visibility and opportunity for fundraising at a time when fundraising events have become mostly virtual. The brief was to create an upbeat musical video along the lines of a comic relief style presentation to include past recipients of the charity and some of the staff at Phoenix Gas, all led by Peter. Creating the video content during C19 safety protocols and ever-changing restrictions was a challenge but we were very happy to also be able to involve Ulster Rugby who is also Phoenix Gas sponsorship recipients. It was important to all involved that this conveyed a positive and upbeat message. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and in particular, meeting all the recipients.
The Big Night In 2020
Charity involvement has always been important to us at Peter Corry Productions and over the years we have worked with numerous local organisations to help them fundraise and profile.
Continuing this approach, Peter performed as part of a recorded online concert involving numerous artists to raise money and awareness in aid of the NI Children’s hospice. He performed in St Anne’s Cathedral and it was great to touch base with the team there.
Committee for Communities
Peter was asked to present to the committee relating to the Department For Communities to bring his viewpoint and experience on the current challenges being faced by our sector at this stage in the pandemic. You can view the full presentation here starting at 2 hours 49 minutes.
Due to the fact that the committee was running slightly short on time, Peter was asked to summarise some of his points as in the recording. If you would like to view the full prepared statement click the link here.
In his capacity as Artistic Director for BSPA Peter was also asked to submit a paper relating to the challenges being faced by performing arts schools and teachers at this time. This has been submitted and is currently awaiting a response.
Over the course of 2020 we submitted numerous proposals with a variety of different ideas for projects to our clients and local councils. Ards & North Down Council got us in to discuss one of these suggestions and Window Wonderland was born. This idea was designed as a way to help re-animate town centres and drive footfall at a time when town centres and retail have been hit hard. Taking place throughout December at 5 different towns, by placing performers in shop windows we brought these spaces to life with magical fairytale characters through storytelling, dance, mime and music. By having performers behind glass, this allowed safe viewing for the public who were outdoors and able to distance successfully whilst enjoying bite sized performances of up to 5 minutes repeated 3 times an hour.
Shoppers could enjoy numerous performances across the space of a couple of hours and considered placement of participating retailers meant that shoppers were encouraged up and down high streets and around corners through a good spread of the area. This also generated interest and excitement for the participating retailers and helped improve footfall into their shops. At a time when panto’s and Theatre weren’t accessible or open, this created an energy and a sense of real magic around Christmastime. It reminded people of the joy of live performance they have been missing. Ourselves and the council received incredible feedback from this enterprise from members of the public across generations who were able to experience this together safely.
The Ulster Orchestra
Peter performed as part of the Ulster Orchestra’s online festive concert “The Magic of Christmas”. He was reunited with Ian McIlhenny and also performed along special guests soprano Emma Morwood & boy treble Cormack Thompson. This took place in the Waterfront Hall, conducted by Paul Campbell and provided a night of Christmas music and readings.
Not strictly a Peter Corry Productions enterprise but certainly due a mention. Producer Fleur Mellor created an entirely new service for Christmas called Elfagram which saw singing elves delivering the gift of a song and personalised cards to hundreds of homes across the province. This fun service was designed to spread cheer and encourage connection throughout December at a time where we were not able to mix households and see loved ones. With all Elfagrams taking place outside this was a way to distance and still enjoy live music safely.
Elfagrams were booked for residents in care homes, grandparents, nurseries, aunties, cousins, children who were also able to hand over their letters to Santa and all manner of friends and relatives. They were booked from abroad and from round the corner. Every Elfagram booked was successfully delivered and this provided employment for a number of artists at a time when most traditional routes to work for singers had been closed. It was a positive and heartwarming way to end what has been a very strange year.
We are still continuing to be optimistic and currently have some dates on hold for 2021 including Christmas At The Cathedral and are in conversation about a few other projects at present. We hope to be able to bring you another positive update in the next few months to come.
Without any indication of outdoor or indoor re-opening dates for venues, it’s a tough time for the industry still and whilst the film industry has successfully managed to achieve a level of underwriting of insurance to allow filming to continue, this isn’t an option currently afforded to our sector. Without insurance that helps producers to recoup losses due to closures brought about by C19 that means producers are having to independently take on these risks to enable any level of production to go ahead. To our colleagues taking these brave steps at this time, we support you and take our hats off to you and hope that this year the advancements of the vaccine will allow some light into what has been a dark time for arts and culture.
In the meantime, we continue to talk, dream and plan as far as we can about what opportunities we can realise. If anyone would like to talk and dream with us about anything they would like to consider going forward please get in touch.