This Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re reflecting on a few of the ways we’re fighting to bring creativity to our communities.
We have always been advocates for the connection between creativity and wellbeing. Creativity has the power to impact our lives, whether that’s through forgetting a bad day whilst enjoying a concert with a friend, finding that song that never fails to cheer you up, or exploring a new talent you never knew you had. Creativity can build confidence, it can build communication, and it can bring people together. Now, when we find ourselves in an unprecedented, sometimes claustrophobic and isolating situation, creativity has never been more important in allowing us to find a moment to take a step back, breathe, and find happiness in something familiar.
We’ve been working hard to adapt as many strands of our work as possible to be accessed remotely so we can remain a place of support for as many people as possible, whether we’re open or closed.
Our partnership with United We Stream was founded on the hope of being able to bring our audiences brilliant nights out from their homes during lockdown. We wanted to bring as much normality as possible to people adjusting to a new way of life, and strengthen the idea that staying at home doesn’t mean missing out.
May was supposed to be when we co-hosted Happy Festival in Bury, as part of our celebration of our Town of Culture award. While the full festival has now been postponed until May 2021, we have been gathering some online contributions from artists and performers to share with you all, in the hope of bringing a little happiness to see you through until next year’s festival.
Our workshop groups are specifically designed to help those most in need in our community, and we run groups for children and young people (Bury Youth Theatre), children with autism (Aiming High), and adults with learning disabilities (Met Express). For many participants, these groups are the main way they can interact and socialise, and they are designed to build specific skills which allow members to work towards more independent lives. We have been working with our Workshop Group leaders to transition these classes online where possible, and are looking into funding which would allow us to develop these online classes further, and stay in regular contact with our group members until we can resume our normal workshops.
We also believe strongly in supporting other artists and organisations across our community who are working to bring their own creative ideas to life. We are proud supporters of Pop Up Play, a local charity run that facilitates play time sessions for children from disadvantaged areas, and Yan Tan Tethera, a story-teller who creates imaginative shows for children and adults alike. Both of these artists have been doing some amazing work to bring entertainment to households across Greater Manchester, and continue to work hard to find ways to keep children creative.
Creativity matters more than ever, and will continue to be a solace for many during and after this crisis. We will continue working to find new ways to bring creativity to our community, but we can’t do it alone. We need your help – whether that’s through a donation, becoming a member, buying a gift voucher, or simply booking tickets to one of shows scheduled for later in the year – your support will let us continue and expand our work.
Find Out More About Supporting The Met
The Met’s main source of income – ticket sales – has dried up almost entirely overnight, while people come to terms with what the future of live music and theatre may look like. But our work continues and our network of staff, artists and group attendees still rely on us.