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The lockdown of March and April of this year coincided with what should have been the start of the Rusticus 2020 outdoor performance season. Suddenly, like everyone, we were confined to the four walls of our house, facing a future with uncertain income. Although at the time of writing, there is still uncertainty hanging over the creative industries, we have found to our surprise and delight, that in the past six months there has been much to celebrate.
I’ve already written about our glorious time at Castle Howard with our socially-distanced outdoor performances. In addition to this, we were lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to bring our work onto a digital stage. We jumped at the chance, swiftly plugged the gaps in kit we would require to work at the standard we wanted (thank you Arts Council England), and set up a green screen in the living room, to the bewilderment of our children. This meant that, with our friends at The East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Museum Service, we were able to celebrate the 70 year anniversary of Amy Johnson’s record breaking solo flight to Australia on 24 May! To mark this historic event we created a Rusticus Adventure Bite – ‘Up in the Air, with Amy Johnson’ – which packed one of our traditional Rusticus outdoor adventures into a seven minute video celebration of those men and women who reached for the skies!
Further digital commissions came in from our friends at The Woodland Trust and we had enormous fun creating the Rusticus Adventure Bite – ‘Magical Springtime Adventure’ – which celebrated this fantastically magical time of year at The Smithills Estate through the eyes of Swallow, newly returned from Africa! Then in August we staged an award ceremony via the conferencing platform, zoom, in which trending wildlife on the Smithills Estate were celebrated for their, sometimes surprising, accomplishments! Featuring video footage with experts, a live Q and A with the wildlife and some very silly musical interludes – it was a joyous undertaking and probably the craziest thing attempted on zoom during lockdown – and that’s saying something..!
We’re still learning and enjoying experimenting with different platforms – from zoom, to green screen shenanigans, special effects, and shortly QR codes – and there are more digital adventures to come – including a very exciting new partnership – shortly to be announced! In the meantime, you can enjoy all of our digital products over on our Rusticus Digital Adventures page!