I have been involved with The Seagull for nearly 30 years.
This old Victorian school was converted by Suffolk County Council into a theatre and drama centre. 15 years ago, SCC couldn’t afford to run it. Potential demolition was prevented; today it’s locally run as a thriving community theatre. Negative became positive.
Karen, Des and the team of volunteers have worked hard during lockdown, focusing on what we can do. In recent weeks our dementia café has re-opened; Fabba, a drama group for adults with additional needs, has restarted; mothers and babies have made music; negatives become positives. The Seagull building and community are starting to flourish again.
An application to the Arts Council for funding was successful. We commissioned local artists and performers to respond to our coronavirus-world. Premiered yesterday they featured on ‘Look East’, our local BBC news. Last night I joined 32 others – masked and socially distanced – to see 11 new films, music, conjuring, poems, art, reflections, songs… Negatives of lockdown became a positive, creative celebration.
Last week I watched ‘DIY SOS’. Darren’s wife had died, leaving him to care for 3 sons. Darren developed a back condition, confining him to a wheel chair; one of his sons, Olly, has a severe disability, confining him also to a wheel chair.
Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team stepped in and converted the family home; it can now accommodate two wheel chairs and Darren can look after his sons. The negative prison of the old house became positive freedom, home and hope for the future.
Today it is raining; steady, persistent rain. Musing on the Jesus narrative, where the negative storm was transformed to positive peace…
Musing too on a line from one of John Ward’s songs last night… ‘to be reborn you have to die’… The Seagull, lockdown, DIY SOS, the Christian message of transformation, negative to positive….
Seagull facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/seagulltheatre
Videos are on Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl3yFdGvweqDnWTAFdTCbJg