Never Mind the Weather: a COVID-safe performance from start to finish!
With Never Mind the Weather, we set ourselves the challenge to create a piece of work for young audiences in thematic and formal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We went into the process knowing some things for sure: that we would perform outside classroom windows; that the performance would be socially distanced; that the play would address the concept of adapting to forces outside one's control. I don't think any of us at Fizz & Chips expected the extent to which we would have to adapt the very show itself!
As we prepared for a research & development period in January 2021, it quickly became apparent that we would not be able to rehearse in person. Awaiting an announcement heralding a change in government restrictions, the months passed. Very soon, it was March, and in-person rehearsals still seemed like an impossibility. After much discussion, we made an unlikely (and possibly crazy!) decision. Our entire team revised their plans to make the process work digitally and remotely. Every single one of our rehearsals took place via Zoom.
After three weeks of digital research & development, we were invited to perform outside the classroom windows of Scoil Uí Riada in Kilcock. LA Feeney and Orlaith Ní Chearra, the two performers (pictured above) had never met in person, but dove into the socially distanced performance without fear or hesitation. Meanwhile, our design team, led by Ellen Finnerty, Catherine Walsh, Lindsey Woods and Niall Clarke ran Zoom-based digital sharings of design ideas for the project, engaging the students in the creative process. The feedback from the teachers and students alike was enough to have made every last adaptation worth it.
Never Mind the Weather was a research & development project commissioned by Riverbank Arts Centre with the support of the Arts Council Commission Award and further support from Shawbrook Dance.
More information on our digital process can be found on the Riverbank Arts Centre's website, here.
Performers: LA Feeney & Orlaith Ní Chearra
Director: Martha Fitzgerald
AD & Dramaturg: Lindsey Woods
Sound Designer: Niall Clarke
Production Designer: Ellen Finnerty
Movement Director: Niamh McGowan
Assistant Designer & Movement Director: Catherine Walsh
Producer: Orla Tubridy