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Blue Raincoat planning ahead

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A performance of On Baile’s Strand has been postponed to a later date. Pic: Steve Rogers

A performance of On Baile’s Strand has been postponed to a later date. Pic: Steve Rogers

A performance of On Baile’s Strand has been postponed to a later date. Pic: Steve Rogers

Despite its latest performance being postponed due to increased Government restrictions, Blue Raincoat Theatre Company still has a positive outlook for the weeks and months ahead.

Cancelling their 150 ticketed event for On Baile's Strand, which was due to take place on Saturday last at Cummeen Strand, the company is busy planning a 'Covid sensitive' calendar of theatre.

Speaking to The Sligo Champion, artistic director with the company, Niall Henry said while it was 'a little frustrating' to have to postpone the latest event, it was in the best interest of adhering to guidelines.

"It's the way things are. We have to make sure we'll be able to adapt. The one thing we don't want is us going back to where we were in March or April."

Mr Henry said the company will be keeping an eye on guidelines and public health advice and will stage the event at another date.

"It sold out in an afternoon, making 150 tickets available, ticket holders have been contacted and we'll let them know when we'll be going again."

Now the company is focused on putting together a programme of events that reflects Covid-19 guidelines, including more outdoor events and social distancing measures.

"We're of the feeling now that we have to put together a programme that's going to be Covid sensitive for the entire year next year."

If asked two months ago what the landscape of the arts would look like, Henry admits he would have thought it would be 'fine by January'.

"I have no crystal ball, I can't see into the future. There's no point putting together a programme with the back of your head thinking, 'we're going to have to change it again'."

Having completed a large sand sculpture project a number of weeks ago on Streedagh Beach, Henry is confident the company can continue to think outside the box in terms of more events and projects during these uncertain times.

"People came at their leisure, it was a slow burn of people coming over six hours, it was safe and On Baile's Strand will be the same. I think next year we're just going to have to come up with a long list of those types of projects."

Discussing the wider topic of the arts, the impacts of the pandemic and Government supports of the industry, Mr Henry admitted he would hope for clearer messaging going forward.

"We've been given money from the tax payer to do art, my only fear is we won't be creative enough to think outside the box enough. We have a lot of things planned up until Christmas, we hope to be imaginative enough to come up with a long list for 2021."

"We've invented the wheel and the combustion engine and been to the moon so I'm quite sure we'll find a way of doing plays with social distancing included," the positive artistic director.

One thing is for sure, Blue Raincoat Theatre Company is ready, willing and able to entertain the people of Sligo, perhaps just in a slightly different way.

Sligo Champion