A Message to our Audiences

First of all, we hope you are all keeping safe and well under the current situation surrounding Coronavirus and in good spirits as we continue to navigate through these extraordinary times.

Over the last few months, we have been learning to work in different ways, reaching out to communities, dancing on the streets and in our living rooms, engaging in creative and strategic conversations, organising, reflecting, and embarking on the unknown…

As rapid sections of life start getting back to a new ‘normal’ and restrictions start to lift, the situation remains fast-changing and there are still many questions for us. We remain uncertain about when we will be back in our building and our auditorium, with many considerations on what might be possible under strict social distancing rules. Many plans have been built, reimagined, and rebuilt but we remain hopeful of the possibilities as we continue on this journey.

This period has sharpened our sense of purpose and re-invigorated our commitment in supporting and bringing communities together, whether that is locally, nationally or internationally - this is more vital now than ever. Like many of our peer organisations, our buildings are very much at the heart of communities in Scotland, and we will continue to find ways of getting through the crisis that reflect that. 

For us, this means taking an active role in city-wide strategic planning, together with Dundee’s cultural community, developing a new Cultural Recovery Plan, keeping culture at the heart of our amazing city. We’re delighted to see this progressing and a combined strategy now underway being co-created and developed with a broad section of Dundee’s cultural community in the coming weeks.

We live in a city where creativity is at the very heart and as an industry of creative thinkers and problem-solvers, the need to be more agile is more important than ever. We have shown during lockdown that we are a community of entrepreneurs, utilising our skills in new ways to create and showcase work, for example through new digital collaborations with National Theatre of Scotland and Scottish Ensemble. We are proud to see members of our wardrobe department utilising their time and skills to coordinate a huge team of volunteers making scrubs at home for the NHS in Tayside. We have also focused our energy on reaching out to those who need us most, our communities. We have loved seeing so many of you getting involved in WHERE ARE YOU, DUNDEE?, a collective art-work for and by the people of Dundee, sharing your experience of this time and coming together whilst we are apart.

We are committed to making the road to recovery truly inclusive of everyone’s needs and continue to value and support the freelance artists working with us. Since the closure of the theatre in March, we have been able to honour our existing financial commitments to our freelance practitioners – from actors, teachers, designers, directors to production staff. Going forward we are actively engaged in ongoing individual and sector-wide conversations to understand the current challenges and find better ways of supporting the independent part of our sector during these difficult times.  

After recently taking part in #BlackOutTuesday, we would also like to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign in the fight against systemic racism. We strive for diversity, supporting equality of opportunity for all, standing with our fellow artists, creatives, audiences, and communities at the same time as recognising that as cultural institutions we all have work to do in all areas of delivery going forward. We have to do more to tackle inequality in our organisation, our sector and call out to the people of Scotland to challenge racism wherever we see it – in the streets, in institutions, at work, and at school.

All that said, we are still very much on a journey together with you.

So where are we now? Right now, we are actively planning for a sustained period of time when our activity will look very different. It is becoming increasingly clear that it’s unlikely theatre buildings will re-open to the public in order to stage performances in Autumn 2020. 

At this point in the year, we would have usually been announcing our 20/21 season of work, with our twin ensembles creating new theatre and dance productions and embarking on national tours; it has now become clear that touring of scale in 2020, either within the UK or internationally, is not going to be possible.We will not be delivering a building-based Autumn season as we had planned, including our annual Christmas production onstage, however, we are exploring other ways to keep the magic alive and celebrate the season with you. Over the next few weeks, our box office team will be in touch with anyone with tickets to performances scheduled in our Autumn season to advise of rescheduled dates and/or refund process. We would also like to reassure customers who have purchased or received Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre vouchers that we will extend the expiry dates, and will announce details in our next season.

Instead, our work will appear in different ways. Having connected with over 90,000 participants, WHERE ARE YOU, DUNDEE? is now evolving into -

THIS IS FOR YOU, DUNDEE – a series of pop-up performances and artistic interventions in and around Dundee created as micro-commissions from Dundee artists and beyond and bringing our work out of the theatre and into our communities

- 6 QUESTIONS - a series of online conversations featuring members of our Ensembles and our creative communities, broadcast from our website. See our artists in conversation with each other talking about their work, their lives and how this recent period has impacted them

ENGAGE CLASSES will continue to be delivered online and we look forward to welcoming participants back into our building as soon as guidelines allow and it is safe to do so

On behalf of all of us at Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, we acknowledge these are incredibly difficult times for everyone and are truly humbled by the generosity of our audiences who continue to support us through this challenging period, many of whom have donated the value of their tickets. We are deeply moved by your generosity.

Although the journey ahead still remains unclear, we believe that by working together, and with the right support, we can make a Scottish theatre and dance culture that is more sustainable, inclusive, and accessible than ever before.

We will be taking the next steps in the journey together with you. We miss you all and stay safe!

From Andrew Panton (Artistic Director, Dundee Rep / Joint Chief Executive), Liam Sinclair (Executive Director / Joint Chief Executive) and Joan Clevillé (Artistic Director, Scottish Dance Theatre)