Our response to COVID-19 in 2020
Our world has been shaken by coronavirus. During these testing times, we are all challenged to adapt, connect and collaborate in new ways. Tantrum’s mission has always been to spark creativity and kindness in young people in the Hunter, especially those who may otherwise miss out. We do this so that in turn, they can do the same within their own communities. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been determined to play this role more than ever…
Watch our mini-documentary below about how we adapted two of our programs, culminating in the delivery of FleXpo – a unique online experience.
During the uncertainty of 2020, we evolved to deliver Tantrum Transformed, which included:
- Re-imagined Drama + Performance Workshops with COVID-Safe delivery (both online and on-site)
- Over $15,000 in workshop fee subsidies provided to families in our tribe
- A brand new creative adventure with Tantrum FleX Ensemble
- Free Offline Creative Resources for young people and their families during restrictions
- Remote and flexible delivery of Trajectory Ensemble to support 8 emerging artists to develop and deliver a COVID-Safe performance event
- Space, time and support for an additional 8 emerging / early career artists through Art About Not Making Art, and
- Employment of a new Creative Producer Paid Intern, an Established Artist Mentor, and ongoing employment for all Tantrum staff
Read on for how we adapted our programs in 2020.
Online and On-Site Drama + Performance Workshops
Responding to health and government advice, we moved quickly to online delivery of our afternoon Drama + Performance workshops – while maintaining the same standards of engagement, inclusion and child-safety that we are known for. Our skilled workshop facilitators embraced technology to change their approach to making art as a group, providing new and exciting ways to stay creative and connected from home.
When we returned to COVID-Safe on-site workshops, our facilitators thought outside the box to create enriching games and activities that responded to the need for social distancing. We shifted expectations, gave time and space to young people to express how they were feeling, provided much-needed fun, and supported our tribe to creatively adjust to a new normal.
We also created free Offline Creative Resources. It was important for us to provide creative options for young people and their families who may not have been able to access online workshops, or who, like many of us, were suffering from digital overload.
Here’s some of what our tribe had to say about our COVID-Safe Online Workshops:
FleXpo is a unique online experience in the form of a brand new website presented by Tantrum Youth Arts, first published in October 2020 and still live in 2021. It is the culmination of two programs that were forced to flex and adapt; Tantrum FleX, and Art About Not Making Art.
Tantrum Flex Ensemble (formerly Tantrum X Ensemble) is a program of weekly workshops for teenagers to collaborate with each other as artists to make new connections and exciting new art.
Over 6 months in 2020, the FleX Ensemble took on the challenge of collaborating as performance makers at a time when live performance wasn’t possible in the same way. Though they occasionally despaired along the way (who didn’t?), each Ensemble member kept on their toes to respond to whatever the world threw at them, dreaming up creative ways to connect with people during a time of isolation and provide small acts of kindness when they were needed most.
Tantrum FleX developed and recorded three audio experiences to give listeners something they’ve been missing – a radio play about fine dining, a guided nature meditation and a selection of COVID-Safe hugs. These audio experiences formed the basis of FleXpo – a brand new website, designed for our community to experience community art despite social restriction.
Art About Not Making Art
During 2020, Tantrum would have normally offered Trajectory Residency to provide local emerging artists with space, time and support to make new creative works. In the face of COVID-19, it was just as important to provide artists with the resources they needed… but in a different way.
Tantrum offered four emerging / early-career artists the opportunity to come together and explore making art about not making art over the month of September in 2020. Specifically, the group focussed on experiences of feeling unproductive, whether as an artist due to COVID-19 or in general, and how they responded. As opposed to any outcome, this process of meeting and sharing was positioned as a creative act in and of itself. The “findings” from this experiment are documented as part of FleXpo.
Creative Producer Intern
Each year, we offer a paid internship to an emerging or early-career artist interested in learning about youth arts and community-engaged art making. Despite the challenges of 2020, we were able to offer a unique experience for Alex Travers to facilitate Art About Not Making Art and support with Tantrum FleX and the production of FleXpo.
“This role gave me the opportunity to collaborate with local artists and while I’ve always thought that’s the most exciting part of any process, it took on a whole new meaning having returned home from overseas earlier than expected, courtesy of COVID.”
– Alex Travers, Creative Producer Intern 2020
Trajectory Ensemble has been an annual program of professional development for emerging artists interested in collaborative, process-driven performance making. Each year, the project has been facilitated by a professional artist to create and present a new performance work, while supporting participants to develop their own sustainable practice. In 2020, COVID-19 meant that the program was delivered through a mix of remote (online) and in person intensives, with uncertainty throughout about how an outcome could be presented. Collaborating with acclaimed cross-disciplinary performance artist Nat Randall, the Ensemble ultimately delivered CAPTURING THE REAL; an experimental exhibition exploring liveness through performance, video and material which was presented as a COVID-Safe event at The Lock-Up.
At Tantrum, we embrace change. We’re flexible and know that our tribe is ready for whatever challenges come our way. We’re proud of what we achieved in 2020 in response to the pandemic, and know that together, we’ll take on whatever comes next.
Thank you to our incredible tribe – our young people and their families, our staff, collaborators and donors – for sticking with us through a difficult time to make noise, make connections and make change.