£60,000 lost as Sheffield theatre company hit by pandemic

Theatre and arts company The Bare Project have had to evolve during lockdown after the pandemic takes its toll on the countries’ art sector.

The Sheffield based theatre company were due to launch their new interactive feasting and poetry event at Sheffield’s Central Library last year, when the announcement of the country’s first covid restrictions cancelled opening night.

Covid-19 also saw their largest national tour to date for their new show ‘The People’s Palace of Possibility’ in Autumn 2020 put on hold.

Malaika Cunningham, artistic director at The Bare Project, said the pandemic ‘drastically’ delayed events, resulting in a loss of £60,000.

Malaika said: “When the reality of COVID became clear last April, our tour and the fees associated with it and our funding application to The Arts Council were both shelved. This, combined with smaller cancellations for other projects over the summer, meant that the company faced losses of over £60k.

“We then got a little bit of emergency funding from The Arts Council and managed to keep a hold of a commission we’d had from The Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity to re-imagine what The People’s Palace of Possibility looked like.”

In order to keep the company afloat, The Bare Project adapted to online work to raise money in the absence of live performances.

“Instead of a live interactive installation, we’ve been telling the story via a series of packages in the post and an interactive website.


“This has been a really exciting development for us as we’ve engaged with 400 participants all over the country and formed new partnerships with arts venues too. With these participants (Palace Citizens) we have built the Palace Archive, which holds the hopes, fears and visions of the Citizens as we attempt to re-imagine the world we live in.

“Going forwards, we hope that many of these participants will help us to create the live installation phase of the project once things open up again. This has meant we could re-imagine how we develop relationships with audiences and participants – the show now goes far beyond one night in the theatre. It has become a story and a participatory experience that lasts many months.”

The Bare project also plan to go on tour with their show, ‘The People’s Palace of Possibility’, in Spring 2022.

Written by Oliver Barefoot

Trainee Journalist at The University of Sheffield Co-Founder of One2Football.com

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