17 Jul Some News for the Summer
Hello to all you Nurds new and old.
In these strange and troubling times, the blossoming world of online improv has brought many new faces into the Nursery community and we are delighted to have you. From Pakistan to Prague, Guadalajara to Greece, we wish the circumstances were different, but have loved the international connections that our online classes are making, as well as the opportunity to stay in touch with our local London community. This blog is to bring you up to date with some of what we are doing and planning. It is all, needless to say, subject to change.
On- and off-line classes
Under the current circumstances, we have decided that it is not yet the right time to start offline classes. We will, of course, do this when it is possible, but we will not be making any further decisions until the end of July when the outcomes of the relaxation of rules in the UK has become clear. When we do start to return to in-person classes, we will do so slowly and carefully, experimenting with blended on- and off-line classes, as well as retaining some online programming for those who cannot get to our classes. But that will all come in time.
For those of you who have been asking about the autumn schedule, the first classes will be on sale later this week and early next. If you missed the Narrative Toolkit, Musical Improvisation or Online Longform this term, you will have another opportunity to catch them, as well as some very special new classes including genres, the Deconstruction and a level 2 improvised Shakespeare. We will also be starting a monthly social hang out and running intensive sessions in half term. Our elective programme has also been very popular during lockdown, so we will be continuing and expanding to include more longform, scenework and narrative/theatrical electives run by teachers inside and outside the Nursery.
We will also be continuing with our shows, panels and starting up some online electives!
Online materials and Improgo
Just before the pandemic threw everything up in the air, some of you will remember that we were working on an improv mobile app. We know we have been a little quiet on that recently, but it is ticking away in the background and we hope to have an announcement very soon.
Changes in leadership
After more than ten years of running the Nursery, Judith and Jules have decided that both for organisational reasons, to encourage other voices inside the company and for our own sanity, we will be restructuring the Nursery over the next few months. There is nothing wrong with a shake-up after a decade, especially with Jules and Heather about to become parents! Exactly what the new structure looks like is not something to be rushed, but we will be letting you know over the next weeks and months how things are changing. The last ten years has been a process of improving growing, so we want to be ready for the next ten years.
Response to Black Lives Matter
All of us at the Nursery are, of course, horrified by the murder of George Floyd and have been following the conversations and campaigns around systemic racism and inequality carefully in order to be more fully informed. Like many arts and improv organisations, we have been thinking about our role and what we can do. Given our small size, we need to be realistic about what we can do sustainably. However, we will not duck our responsibility. We know that it is a long process and accept that we have not always done our part. We want to change that.
Most immediately, we have been using our online electives and shows as a way of connecting with and featuring a more diverse set of voices. As we go into the autumn, one of the first responsibilities of the new leadership structure will be to ensure we have a clear and effective policy on inclusion and diversity and that it is followed and updated. Measures to address being considered include the recruitment of a diversity and inclusion officer, further staff training, expressly engaging with these issues in classes and rehearsals, examining and publishing our recruitment processes and reaching out to organisations that we do not normally work with for collaborations. We are aware of the difficulties of the financing of such programmes and will be engaging with it in a way which is fair. We are also involved with conversations around an improv foundation in the UK.
There’s a lot here, and much of it is just headlines, so a lot more detail and explanation will be coming your way as the summer continues. Thanks for being patient, and for being part of the Nursery community.
What are we getting right? And what are we getting wrong? Have you been taking classes with us or watching our shows and want to tell us something? Please email on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Whether it is big or small, we are always delighted to hear from you and will be finding other ways to consult and engage more proactively over the course of the year.
Stay safe and look after each other.
Judith and Jules