Staying connected with the Community Collective

The Community Collective is a key part of the Citizens Theatre's community work. The group meet on a Friday afternoon, using drama exercises and improvisation in imaginative ways to create theatre. 

In March 2020 we had to cancel the drop-in sessions due to the Coronavirus pandemic but it was important that we remain connected with members. So, the group quickly adapted and found new ways of meeting virtually and working online. One year on Neil Packham, who runs the Community Collective sessions with Elly Goodman, reflects on the past 12 months and how they've stayed creative.

The Community Collective performing at the Summer Sessions 2019. Photo by Karen Gordon.

A year since our world changed and amongst many other things we lost the joyful, theatrical chaos and creativity of Friday afternoon and Community Collective sessions. However, we’ve continued to Zoom and Zoom and Zoom, exploring our new world of creativity on the screen and beyond! We’ve written many a pandemic inspired scene, from the lack of toilet rolls and pasta - to the fairy-tale world of COVID, where Cinderella constantly sanitises, the ball is cancelled and Little Red Riding Hood isn’t allowed to visit her Granny. We’ve celebrated birthdays, written raps and limericks, filmed Christmas songs and gifted each other, imaginary, exotic holidays in the sun. 

The Community Collective now meet every Friday on Zoom.

We’ve missed dressing up and parading in the Gorbals Fair and collaborating with our friends at Givin’it Laldie on our annual Winter Warmer event.  However, we’ve continued to welcome new members, keep ourselves creative, support each-other and have a right good laugh on a Friday afternoon.

There have been many stand out moments and projects on Zoom, however, we endeavoured to continue in some small way, (taking every safety precaution), to engage face-to-face with individual members of the group on their doorsteps. The phenomenon that is the ‘Theatre Doorstep Challenge!’ Where Elly or I would turn up at a members' door, that person would then perform a short theatre piece ‘live’, which would be Zoomed back to the rest of the group. We would wait with baited breath on the screen, to see just who’s door it would be each week! The performer would then be presented with a highly coveted replica Oscar, every bit as important as a real one, and deliver a celebratory speech of thanks.

David accepts his Doorstep Challenge Oscar! See more photos here.

When we returned in 2021, full of hope, we again returned to the world of Zoom. A new challenge was set to the Community Collective, the creation of our own community ‘soap opera’. Each person creating their own fictional character that they would own and continuously inhabit on a Friday afternoon. Each week they would be given typical soap like situation to explore and improvise around, always with a cliff hanger moment! The world of the soap was not during the time of COVID and allowed total escapism for a couple of hours... 

Jean’s Vintage shop was broken into, witnessed by Robert the postie, a valuable item has gone missing, there are many suspects! The Community Centre could close and become a Franchised Coffee shop, hard nose business women Jackie Blue is escaping the rat race for a remote island but why? Sister Beth, the local nurse, has revealed that she is the mother of the young pub landlord Jamie, Steed at the Manor House has his eye on everyone, Madge Minn trusts no one and will Frankie appear naked in a charity calendar?

Inspired by the joy of exploring this each week, we thought we’d create a soap style trailer, so one of the many talented members the Community Collective, took it upon himself to produce this tantalising insight into the world of ‘CitzView’…watch out River City!

The Community Collective is a sociable drop-in group for people who share an interest in theatre. It continues to meet virtually until face-to-face groups can return. If you are interested in taking part please contact Neil Packham, Community Drama Director No experience is necessary. Visit our website for more information.