Despite the challenge that lockdown is posing to arts organisations across the country with theatres in darkness for the foreseeable future, plans continue to be made to ensure The Holroyd Community Theatre near Oswestry remains at the heart of its North Shropshire and Welsh Borders community.

With lights literally shining from The Holroyd every Thursday evening when the theatre’s blue illuminations shine out as part of the nation’s 8 o’clock salute to the NHS, last Thursday also saw an important evening for the local Arts groups and societies as representatives from Music, Drama, Art and Community organisations gathered for a virtual meeting to discuss a range of exciting Arts opportunities and initiatives.

Opening the evening’s discussions Carolyn Tilley from The Holroyd Community Theatre invited the delegates to explore ways in which even in these virtual times, The Holroyd could showcase a wealth of local talent. Breakout rooms were an opportunity for those gathered to work in smaller groups to discuss a range of possible initiatives focused on Music, Readings, Arts, Drama.

Reflecting on the evening’s discussions, Alison Stevens, Manager of Shropshire Music Service, added: “Although The Holroyd Theatre is a new venue, recently opened and now closed due to COVID-19, it was clear from the many organisations represented at the recent meeting that it will reach all areas of the community, providing a varied programme with something to interest all ages and interests. It will become a cultural hub, bringing together all aspects of the arts in one place, making it easy for people to access.”

Derek Jones representing Ty Pawb, Wrexham Symphony Orchestra and Ensemble Cymru added: “It is a great encouragement that the HCT team are reaching out to the wider community to engage with them in the development of the programme for The Holroyd Community Theatre. We had a very positive discussion about the potential options to provide a virtual programme of events and performances during the period of enforced closure.

“I have always considered that collaboration and partnerships offer a significant contribution to eventual success for all organisations and particularly so in the world of arts. There is much to gain from different art forms seeking to cross-fertilise their ideas. In the new post COVID-19 world, collaboration and partnerships will become even more important to build a sustainable future.”

With diverse and creative ideas a plenty, The Holroyd Community Theatre will begin hosting virtual events from Thursday, 1st June.