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Fantastic free shows to enjoy from home

Hello lovely Strike A Light friends – hope you’re all OK. We miss seeing you! 😭

But while lockdown is in effect, we still want to find ways to share in amazing experiences with you. So here’s a quick selection of a few fantastic, free shows that you can enjoy from home this week:

In Loco Parentis
Date: Thurs 9 April (tomorrow!)
Location: streaming online – Pavillion Dance South West
Tickets: free! (Or optional donation)
Age recommendation: 14+

“Agonisingly visceral, and often beyond words… this is also a piece about love as an enduring source of hope” The Psychologist

We’ve partnered with our friends at Pavillion Dance South West (PDSW) to try out sharing dance performances online. This one is a serious, hard-hitting piece: a powerfully brutal and honest examination of the care system. In Loco Parentis explores what it’s like to grow up in care. What happens to young people when their parents can’t look after them?

You can join the live screening from 7.30pm tomorrow. More details on the PDSW site: https://www.pdsw.org.uk/whats-on/in-loco-parentis/


Jane Eyre
Date: 9-16 April
Location: streaming online – National Theatre
Tickets: free!

Every Thursday, the National Theatre are making full shows available to watch online for free, for a limited time. This coming week is Jane Eyre – a co-production with Bristol Old Vic, which we loved when we saw it in Bristol (back when things like that were allowed!)

More details on the National Theatre site:
https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/nt-at-home


Tweedy’s Lost and Found
Date: Wednesdays at noon (now!)
Location: streaming online – The Barn, Cirencester
Tickets: free!

Our friends at The Barn, Cirencester, have arranged a weekly show, live online, with Tweedy the Clown. Every week, he’ll be entertaining children with his new Tweedy’s Lost & Found series as part of the Behind The Barn Door online broadcast.

More details on The Barn’s site:
https://barntheatre.org.uk/tweedy-the-clown

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Culture in a time of crisis – and events in a time of isolation

Since it first became apparent that the UK was not going to escape the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve felt the need to say…something about it, and about the relationship between culture and crisis.

I guess we’re all – everybody – trying to orientate ourselves right now and saying stuff out loud can be part of how we do that.

(It’s really hard to know what to say at the moment, don’t you find?)

So, a couple of us started putting some thoughts down. This was a week or two back – before the full lockdown, before Parliament’s new emergency legislation, before Arts Council’s funding announcements or any of the more drastic escalations of the past few days.

Maybe let’s call this an exercise in thinking out loud – which we’re sharing with you now after quite a long delay because, like lots of people, we’ve spent most of the past week trying to put various emergency measures and responses in place.

Here goes, though:


A photograph of Sarah Blowers

Sarah (Co-Artistic Director)

Even before all this happened and threw everything up in the air, I had been thinking again about culture and its position in our society.

In reading Etty Hillesum’s extraordinary writing, An Interrupted Life (totally recommended reading), I contemplated the role of culture in ways I hadn’t before.

I started to reconsider how culture – especially in times of absolute crisis – has an ability to lift you from your present and take you to a place that almost nothing else can.

We are in a crisis and we are all losing many freedoms that we usually take for granted.

In that context, watching recent social media footage of people in Italy singing from their balconies, music soaring into the air, giving solace and importantly a feeling of “we are in this together” has really chimed with me.

When locked away, when held in, when on literal lockdown, the role of culture and beauty can transcend social divisions and offers a place of togetherness for us all.

We have held emergency meetings over the past week at Strike A Light (via video call!), as will many thousands of organisations, and asked ourselves questions like:

  • What do we do? 
  • What can we do?
  • What is our role?
  • What is happening?!

I am so heartened by groups of people self-organising: supporting communities, delivering food.

So how does this work in the arts?

I’d love to hear people’s responses and how we might work together. We know that culture and beauty in these difficult times become more necessary not less.

  • How can we ensure that people who are lonely, isolated and scared are still able to turn to culture and be uplifted?
  • Should we be working out how to share experiences by post, phone or podcast?
  • Should we invest in live streaming?
  • Should we commission a travelling show that can play to outdoor spaces that people can watch from a distance?
  • How can we immediately support artists? I know many have, overnight, lost their livelihoods…

I don’t have the answers but I know that as things become tighter and more constricted that we will be turning towards and yearning for some cultural transportation – and I’d like to think that as artists and organisations we are able to respond to that.


A photograph of Ben Whitnall

Ben (Marketing)

As an organisation all about making cultural change in a geographical area, putting on live events, bringing people together in physical spaces to share in amazing experiences, it would be easy to think that this new world of social isolation/distancing just entirely pulls the rug out from under us.

How can we do anything to create a shared cultural experience when people aren’t even allowed to be in the same room?

We’re determined to come up with creative ways to keep doing what we do and bringing you, our audience, together (even if our ‘bread and butter’ of in-person events is off the table).

Why is this about to get more important?

This isolation is going to feel…weird. And, sure, people are happy to joke about binge-watching their way through the entire back-catalogue of Netflix but just try it for more than a few days in a row and see how quickly you start feeling the lack of genuine human interaction. Humankind does not live on boxsets alone. 

When you’re in the wild west – at the frontier, finding your way through the uncertain nights in a hostile landscape, navigating a world where the rules aren’t yet set – you sit around the campfire and tell stories to each other. 

Every time any community has started out on a new rhythm and structure of life, you’ll find the same thing happening: people make stories to tell each other. Because we need that to navigate, explain and pass on the situation in which we find ourselves. And it’s only heightened when that new time is a time of crisis. 

We’re in a wild west all of our own now. We need to tell stories to each other, even if we can’t sit around a campfire.

Maybe it’s possible to identify and bottle some of those other ingredients that make arts and cultural events so vital and find other ways to share it with people, even when we can’t all be in the same room together. We’re going to try.

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Coronavirus Update

(Updated 17 March- 11am)

Following yesterday’s announcement from the government we have made the difficult decision to cancel all our shows and workshops this week. We will be contacting all audience members, participants and artists as soon as we can.

  • You can choose to swap your ticket to a future Strike A Light event- we can credit your customer account and you can then book using this credit in future.
  • You can choose to donate your ticket to Strike A Light we will contribute your donation to our ticket campaign so that in future a child in Gloucester can see a show for free.
  • If you do not want to do any of the options above then we can offer a refund for your ticket.

    To arrange this please contact info@strikealightfestival.org.uk with the name your tickets were booked under, the event name, the number of tickets and what you’d like to do.

Behind the scenes we’re working together with artists, companies & tutors and keeping up to date on the latest guidance. We’ll post updates on our social media.

Thank you for your support in these unprecedented times.

We believe that with the combined creativity of the Strike A Light family we can find some ingenious ways to keep you entertained over the following months.

Keep in touch & stay safe!

Lots of love from the Strike A Light team 🔥

Audio Coronavirus update: 17 March

(Updated 16 March- 3pm)

To our brilliant Strike A Light audiences,

We’re looking forward to seeing you at our events this week and wanted to check in and let you know that we’re still going ahead as planned. We’re keeping a very close eye on government updates regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) and will share updates about future events via our social media channels and direct to ticket bookers via email.

We understand that everyone’s experiences and responses to something like this are different and so if you don’t feel you want to attend or are self isolating then we can offer the following options:

  • You can choose to swap your ticket to a future Strike A Light event- we can credit your customer account and you can then book using this credit in future
  • You can choose to donate your ticket to Strike A Light we will contribute your donation to our ticket campaign so that in future a child in Gloucester can see a show for free.
  • If you are ill or self-isolating and do not want to do any of the options above then we can offer a refund for your ticket.To arrange this please contact info@strikealightfestival.org.uk with the name your tickets were booked under, the event name, the number of tickets and what you’d like to do.

We have been working to ensure that extra hygiene measures are in place for our events. In uncertain and anxious times, theatre can provide a much-needed boost and escape. We would like to thank our audiences for supporting us in this unpredictable time and for taking personal responsibility for their health and heeding hygiene advice.

We want to share again this useful government advice:

  • If you develop a fever or a new persistent cough you should stay home and self-isolate for seven days and visit 111.nhs.uk for further advice.
  • If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

We look forward to welcoming you to a Strike A Light event soon!

Jess and the Strike A Light team

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Youth Arts & Activism

Over the past few months we have been working with an *incredible* group of young climate activists from Gloucester who are part of ‘UKSCN Gloucester’ and organise the Youth Strikes for Climate in the City.

Last month we supported the group to organise a fundraiser ‘Australia is Burning’ at Gloucester Guildhall, to raise funds for the Australian wildfire relief fund. The event was produced by the young people and they programmed some awesome musicians and spoken word artists. Alongside this they performed a ‘scratch’ of the show we have been creating with them about their climate activism. The night was a massive success and they raised over £400!

A couple of weeks ago we took the group to the Youth Arts & Activism Symposium held at Battersea Arts Centre.

(On the way to London we made a detour to see Greta Thunberg make a speech at the Bristol Youth Strike for Climate which was an amazing way to start the weekend).

The Symposium was a two day event which brought together young activists from across the entire country. There were some brilliant workshops from experienced arts activists including Viv Gordon & Richard DeDomenici. Plus workshops and a performance by the phenomenally inspiring coletivA ocupação.

A couple of members of UKSCN Gloucester talk about the Youth Arts & Activism Symposium & ‘When it Breaks it Burns’ at Battersea Arts Centre.

“I will remember this weekend forever.

People from different countries, different races, different sexualities, different religions, people with disabilities, transgender people… you could be yourself and no one would judge- you don’t get that in everyday life. 

I laughed, I cried, I danced till my body hurt, and I bonded with people I’ve never met before.”

-Member of UKSCN Gloucester

“At the symposium, there were so many people who were like me. I got to talk to so many people that I could relate to.”

-Member of UKSCN Gloucester

We’re so proud to be working with these amazing young people and are so inspired by their passion, dedication and resilience. If you’d like to support what they are doing why not join them on their next strike in Gloucester on Friday 3 April.

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Co-creating change in Gloucester

A photograph of Philipa Smith

Hi everyone, my name is Philippa and I am an Associate Producer for Strike A Light. 

I am currently working on a project called ‘co-creating change‘ which is an initiative to encourage everyone to work together to create something special for their communities. 

Gloucester has a thriving African and Caribbean community and as a member, I feel that there is a lot of talent that can be shared in and around Gloucester and beyond. 

Lately, I have been working with a number of people to create a team of ‘community promoters.’ So, what is a community promoter? Well, they are locals who are passionate about Gloucester and its arts scene and they would like to see more people, access, create, participate in, produce and be a part of a thriving arts scene in Gloucester. The group of community promoters I’ve been working with promote events within the African and Caribbean community. 

The group have a couple of shows planned for the next few months. The first is a family variety show, which will take place in May. This night promises to be a treat! It will include local acts as well as one or two guests from outside of town. If you would like to be involved, let the team know – the more, the merrier!

Secondly, the group is planning a performance at this year’s Rooftop Festival. Once again, the idea is to showcase local talent, and bring a variety of different artists and genres together: music, singers, dance, fashion and more. 

Keep an eye out for more performances during the year – and why not get involved yourself as well? We’re always happy to hear from people who’d be interested in helping us co-create some change!

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Why a programme to empower female arts leaders is so important

Last week I made a list of people to set up meetings with for a project. Because those meetings were with leaders of organisations, *there were more people called Richard on that list than there were women*


It’s time for a new way of working.


In the last few months two things happened.

  1. The Point in Eastleigh were successful in securing funding from Arts Council England for a Transforming Leadership project which will support 16 female arts leaders from diverse backgrounds and we at Strike A Light (SAL) will be supporting two of these women.
  2. I read Mary Portas’ book Work Like A Woman.

Both of these things set my brain whirring and as I lay in bed (ironically enough, at a hen do) I sent myself about 15 emails as I thought of so many things I wanted to do or change or articulate.

The Transforming Leadership project is not only the opportunity to address gender inequalities in leadership on a purely statistical level, it’s an opportunity to question how and why we work the way we do.

Most of my brain-whirring was about what the wise Mary calls “broader ambition”. There’s a myth about women being ‘less ambitious’ as a reason for them not applying for leadership roles. There are many systemic barriers that exist which could account for this imbalance – but, equally, women are not less ambitious if they are rejecting the existing baggage that comes with our current view of what leadership is: isolation, stress, long hours, a dictatorial approach.

If women want things for their personal life or family life too, they are just ambitious in a wider way, for their whole lives, which includes the workplace but isn’t defined by it.


In a previous job, I worked for an arts organisation where putting in long hours was a sign of commitment to your job. The word slacker was used a lot as a ‘joke’ if people left on time or worked part time. As someone without children I’d never considered why that might be a problem and how damaging my perceptions were. 

Since I first joined Strike A Light it has been led by two inspiring women – women who have challenged a lot of the things I held dear about workplace culture and my own value within it. I think that SAL has a working culture which is influenced by this approach and it’s one which I am excited to examine, try and articulate more clearly and share regionally and nationally through the Transforming Leadership project and to the new leaders we will be working with. 

Because that’s the thing about diversity in the workplace. It’s not about quotas or tick-boxes. It’s about the fact that things are genuinely better if more, different voices are heard at leadership level. Better creatively and better in terms of workplace equality. If something doesn’t affect you (childcare costs, the physical accessibility of a building, only seeing white faces in marketing materials) then you’re less likely to think about it or do anything to make it better. More varied experiences in staff teams means more people making things better and fairer for everyone. 

At SAL, our flexible working policy opens with: “we accept that the 9-5 structure was invented for a society when the men went to work and the women stayed at home. That society no longer exists.” 9-5 does not work for most people for a huge range of reasons and in our industry and with the magic of the internet is there’s no reason to demand it. 

When we consider other people’s needs, it makes the work environment better for everyone. Childcare might be a driving factor in moves towards flexible working but, for example, in the SAL office that flexibility also means that one staff member can do regular exercise classes which help her manage her migraines and another can cut their commute in half by avoiding rush hour. (Fun fact, while I type this it’s 7pm and I’m over 100 miles from our office, having spent the day playing with my nephew.)


But theoretically these ideas could be implemented by anyone. So: a scheme to support women leaders. Is it needed? After all, us women have got the vote, what more could we possibly want?! And when’s International Men’s Day, eh??! (It’s ‘19 November’ or ‘every day’, depending on why you’re asking the question).

Theoretically yes, legally, women should be treated equally so why the need for positive discrimination? Why not just ‘the best person for the job’?

Because of humans’ unconscious bias towards people who are similar to us, we usually think the ‘best person for the job’ is the one who is most like us. The status quo bias means that difference is seen as risky. If there’s only one woman or one person of colour shortlisted for a role, their chance of being hired is statistically zero.

Also, when shortlisting, the best person for the job on paper will be the person who has already been given the most opportunities and so has the most experience. So the same narrow pool is hired over and over and nothing changes.

Women are under-represented in leadership in almost every industry, even those where the workforce is female dominated. They’re underrepresented in board rooms and in leadership roles in large Arts Council National Portfolio Organisations. When married women retire, on average they will be five times worse off financially than their husbands because the current work structures are stacked against women progressing in their careers, earning more or managing childcare without detriment to their income.

Last week I made a list of people to set up meetings with for a project, and because those meetings were with leaders of organisations there were more people called Richard on that list than there were women.

Diversity brings in new ideas, new voices, different ways of looking at old problems. In the UK we work the longest hours in Europe and are experiencing a mental health crisis. The current structures aren’t ideal for anyone. It’s time for a new way of working.


At SAL we are trying to do things differently. This includes collaborative working. Everyone’s workload has peaks and troughs – if someone is drowning under too much work that week we will sit down and go through their list and either get rid of what’s not important or dish out tasks between the rest of the team. That’s better for the organisation in terms of getting things done well but also for that individual. This is something which the standard view of leadership, the competitive model of individual success and ambition, does not allow for.

I am inspired by the way we work and I never want to go back to working for a large organisation that creaks under its own weight and struggles to turn. I have also banned myself from using the word bossy. We use it to refer to girls, and only girls, who are being in charge, taking up space or talking loudly and giving instructions. We are saying that they are displaying the behaviour of a boss, a leader, and this is addressed as a criticism. 

I am proud of being a leader and I want to work for an organisation and on projects that encourage other women to do the same.


To find out more about the South West Women Leaders project as part of Transforming Leadership, check out the application information in our current Opportunities.

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Made at Hawkwood: Friday Reads

About three years ago, Alicia from Hawkwood and Emma Jane, our Co-Artistic Director, cooked up a cunning plan to offer artist residencies in the beautiful setting of Hawkwood, with producer support from Strike A Light. 

Like all residencies, working for a week at Hawkwood provides invaluable time and space for artists to develop their shows, write or rehearse. Unlike other residencies, it comes with the bonus of being in the beautiful Cotswold hills, and the BEST food. In fact when we’re talking to artists about how it went and how we can support the next stage of their work, we have a hard time getting them off the subject of the food. But we caught up with a few people who’ve been at Hawkwood recently to find out how it went, and- other than the daily home made cake- what their highlights were.

Vinnie Heaven

We’ve been working with the amazing Vinnie Heaven since the beginnings of Strike A Light. We like to support new ideas and new voices getting to the stage and Vinnie wanted to use their show to make a change in the world. Vinnie worked at Hawkwood with director Emma Williams to create their show She’s A Good Boy. The show then went on a very successful national tour and you can read more about that journey here.

“Your first exploration and draft is raw, its messy, frustrating, painful at times. At Hawkwood you get three meals a day at set times that force you out of your head and away from your words and allow you designated time to chat to other artists and makers. The food is phenomenal, that’s just a fact. The head space meals provide is integral. That’s a fact too.  You can sleep there! you can completely escape life and have a week in picturesque gardens and light studios to just – make!”


Dani Harris Walters

Last year we did a call out to local and national artists in partnership with Everyman Theatre and Hawkwood to commission a brand new piece of Black led theatre or dance. The recipient was the brilliant Dani Harris Walters. Dani and his team spent a week at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham and a week at Hawkwood developing a brand new piece ‘Nanny’ before performing a scratch at the All Nations Community Centre (a highlight of our year that you can read a bit more about here). The finished show is coming to Gloucester too so watch this space.

Check out this video of Dani and the team during their residency. 👇


Saili Katebe

We regularly have open calls for artists to share work in progress at our Scratch Nights (find out more). In September 2019 we were lucky enough to have poet Saili Katebe share some of his new spoken word at our scratch night. We were really excited by Saili’s work and wanted to continue our support. Saili applied for a residency and worked at Hawkwood in December alongside other spoken word artists Sean Mahoney, Katie Greenall, JPDL & Grove.

“Day one of the residency was an amazing reminder of how much there is to pick apart and build, and what that time was able to give me to pull apart and bring back together. Having shared a scratch of my work a few times and received some notes and feedback, the time to consider the feedback allowed me to really shape and reshape the project as opposed to piling things on top of what I already had.

“I am excited about where I am with the project and hungry to tuck into it and bring it to life. I’m excited for the team to see the next sharing of the work and I look forward to sharing this creative journey with Strike A Light.


Bootworks Theatre

Bootworks’ new show NINE will star nine local nine year olds, sharing their thoughts, at the midpoint between birth and adulthood. In summer 2020 they’ll be working with young people in Matson, Gloucester, to create the show and in January 2020 had a week at Hawkwood to develop the ideas.

Here’s Andy, one of the Bootworks artistic directors, to tell you more about that week…

If you are interested in finding out more about how to apply for a future residency then you can keep an eye on our opportunities page or sign up to our artist mailing list.

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Made in Gloucestershire

We have been working with Vinnie Heaven for the last few years and their show She’s A Good Boy began its development through a residency at Hawkwood.

The show, about non-binary gender, was a reminder of the power of theatre. Young people were able to see someone like them on stage and went from thinking they were alone to finding their tribe. Parents, grandparents and teachers messaged with thanks to say they finally understood. People who weren’t able to attend the show asked to see it somehow and watched through a Facebook live stream. The show has also led on to other things for Vinnie, and we’ve got our money on them becoming a household name. So before they do, they’ve kindly shared with us what their journey has been and how they’re not planning to forget Gloucestershire any time soon…

Vinnie is an associate artist of Strike A Light and with their support made and toured (nationally) She’s A Good Boy. Vinnie has also performed The Little Bookshop Boy, Passpawt, Half The World Away and Charmane at Strike A Light. Vinnie now lives between Gloucestershire and London having toured with Emma Rice’s Wise Children last year and this year is filming a new series, to air in 2021.

All of the above biography is important to me because it’s a summary of where I began and was nurtured and evidences what I was able to go on to having had that foundation. All of the above credits are equal to me whether others agree or not. I was made and trained in Gloucestershire and I am resolutely proud of that.

I didn’t get in to drama school. I tried. So instead, I trained with Jenny Wren, on the job. Blood sweat and tears went in to outdoor summer shows, studio shows and the occasional tour. It was at the end of this graft that Strike A Light found me. I was a rough around the edges maker with a hundred ideas and the energy to match.

Fast forward a few shows later and I’m at Hawkwood, on a residency. Having sat down a few weeks before with EJ and Sarah and been asked – Have you got a show in you? What do you need from us? 

Pause here for a moment – the biggest thing to admit here is that I had to let them help me, I had to admit I had no contacts for directors, designers, producers, organisations to put on my funding app, theatres to ask for in kind support, none of it, and for this particular piece I needed a specific team and specific spaces. Step forward Christina, who did have ALL these things and would sit time and time again with me to talk me through the options and help me phrase emails, at no point appearing worn or drained by having to essentially teach me, always just a kind smile and a lot of snacks. Now lets un-pause and return to Hawkwood. 

Your first exploration and draft is raw, its messy, frustrating, painful at times. At Hawkwood you get three meals a day at set times that force you out of your head and away from your words and allow you designated time to chat to other artists and makers. The food is phenomenal, that’s just a fact. The head space meals provide is integral. That’s a fact too.  You can sleep there! I didn’t – I had lived ten minutes down the road for years – but you can, you can completely escape life and have a week in picturesque gardens and light studios to just – make!

My residency began my solo show, She’s A Good Boy,  produced by Strike A Light – which went down a storm at The Gloucester Guildhall, we sold it out. This then gave me the footage of the show to send to venues. Christina brought on board Battersea Arts Centre and together we met Pegasus Theatre until we had enough support to apply to fund a tour – and we sold that out too!

That show got me an agent – which I had never needed in Gloucestershire, that’s the beauty of my home, we all have each others backs. That agent took me from national solo show tour to a casting in Soho Theatre in London. In that show a casting agent for Wise Children saw me and put me in Malory Towers and from there I am sitting in a hotel room sifting through a filming schedule that shoots until later in the year…but it began in a room, in Stroud, with big bright windows and an old piano, across from an artist called Ruby who painted with chemical reactions and shared a salad with us on the breaks….

I chose London. I moved there when my personal life in Gloucestershire crumbled around me. I chose to sign with the agent who asked me and I chose to ride the success I have now having not gone to drama school and having worked tirelessly for years in my home town to learn my craft. 

I still choose Gloucester. It is the home I make my work in. It is the team who know me, with all my flaws and needs, who hold me and encourage me, with honesty and with drive. I will choose Gloucester when a new idea scratches at my feet to be released, when I turn up at Strike A Light with a stack of paper filled with scruffy notes and searching for a list of creative names to match the squiggles – with no expectation but to make and for people to see.

We make our own success in a way that only each one of us can. But we succeed by lifting others and in turn by letting ourselves be lifted.

Vinnie

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Overcoming Obstacles: Friday Reads

Hello! I’m Scott and I’m the Events and Tech Intern here at Strike A Light and GL4. The job sounds like it covers a lot and that’s because it really does! I could be up scaffolding focussing a light one day and chatting to a venue manager trying to organise an event the next. I have a really wide ranging interest in theatre and events production and this internship lets me try loads of different things which is absolutely perfect. I’ve worked on over ten shows in half a year, been on tour around the country with Filskit Theatre and assistant stage managed with Annie on Pinocchio.


Working at a company like Strike A Light has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time as I’ve been interested in theatre since I was a teenager. Since graduating from my undergrad and MA I’ve worked in TV post-production and front of house in the West End, both opportunities I loved, but theatre making and production is really where my heart is and being able to do it on a day to day basis is amazing.


It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. About a year before starting with SAL & GL4 I developed a serious condition called Ulcerative Colitis. It’s a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s disease, and I became extremely unwell. I had to leave my work in the West End to have emergency surgery which removed my colon and gave me a stoma (an ileostomy to be precise!). Having both UC and the stoma meant frequent bathroom trips and I began to wonder whether or not I would actually be able to work in theatre or live events.


Six months later I had another surgery to reverse my stoma. Thinking that I would probably never be able to work in theatre I had signed on to do a PhD, but while in recovery I decided to give working in theatre one last push. This is where I found Strike A Light, I told them my story and what I wanted to do and what I got from them was resounding positivity! With little adjustments here and there (and a sick day or two when I’ve needed to go to hospital or I’ve been fatigued) I’ve been able to do all the jobs I’ve set out to do and feel like I can be productive within the industry. I’ve loved working both at SAL shows and GL4 which put on amazing work in the Matson area of Gloucester. 


Ultimately, working at Strike A Light & GL4 is an exciting experience on its own. But what makes it so important to me is finding that there are homes for people with disabilities in the arts. That what seem like impossible obstacles can be overcome with the right support and the right team. 

Scott Hurley

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My Unexpected Journey: Friday Reads

Hi, I’m Ellie. Having lived in Gloucester for the majority of my life, you realise that there were very few opportunities for young creatives. So like the majority of Gloucester students at the time, I couldn’t wait to get out of here, and I packed my bags and went to London to study Professional Dance and Musical Theatre.  

I had the best 3 years in London. But trying to live the high London life whilst being a poor student is like chalk and cheese… it just doesn’t work! After graduating with a 2:1, and accepting the fact I couldn’t afford to stay in London, I moved back to Gloucester. I felt like I had taken 10 steps back in my career but then something unexpected happened…

I came across a company called Strike A Light, who were looking for volunteers for their festival. Having read about Strike A Light & their sister organisation GL4, this sounded right up my street and thought it would be a good way to make connections within the arts in Gloucester (which I didn’t know existed until this)!! From this came an opportunity which I never thought in a million years would exist in Gloucester. Strike A Light were looking for a Youth Dance Intern to assist in the delivery of dance sessions in local primary and secondary schools. This is where my journey really began with Strike A Light.

I was assisting teaching 1 day a week with teachers from Rise Youth Dance, who are based in Bristol. I learnt so much about teaching and about myself through this internship role, and kept looking for new ways of how my journey could continue with Strike A Light. 

Fast forward to the last 6 months…

An opportunity came up for a Marketing and Admin Intern for Strike A Light & GL4, something I hadn’t had any experience in, but always had an interest for. So I went for it and got the job! In the last 6 months my life has completely changed. I went from teaching 1 day a week, to working full time for Strike A Light & GL4 as well as continuing teaching dance in local schools. 

The career support I have had from Strike A Light has had such a positive impact on my life. This is a company that believes in me and is always looking for new opportunities to help me in the development of my career. One of these opportunities is the Rise Traineeship. Through my Youth Dance Internship, I made a good connection with Rise Youth Dance. They offer a traineeship for young people aged 18-25 to support them in their career. Having had many conversations with myself whether this was the right thing for me to do, Strike A Light really believed that it was and encouraged me to apply for the course. I am so glad I listened to them as the course has not only made me a better dancer, but I have gained so much new knowledge about facilitating and teaching dance within schools, it has really taken my teaching and skills to the next level! Check out Rise Youth Dance’s website here http://www.riseyouthdance.com/

Teaching children in Gloucester has been the most rewarding experience. Not only can I see my own personal development as a teacher, but I can see the positive impact dance has had on them. I feel privileged to be given this opportunity to make an impact in the community. Growing up in Gloucester, dance was not accessible to all. But being part of the development of the arts in Gloucester is something I never imagined to be possible.

When I moved back to Gloucester after University, it was only meant to be a temporary situation. When I found Strike A Light & GL4, I said to myself “take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way”, and I believe that is exactly what I’ve done.

Ellie Maynard