Love [and Survival] in a Time of Covid

This four-week festival took place in June and July 2021 and comprised performances, exhibitions, workshops, music events and even guided walks. The performances (all new writing) are recorded in the main play archive pages. This page has details of the other activities.

 Paper and Potato Play
26th June, 2021

Paper flower-making, origami and potato printing led by Hanna Finn, Isaac Insley and Jess Walker.

 The Bacchae by Euripides
26th June and
8th July, 2021

A rehearsed reading of an updated version of this classic drama, performed by Pleasure Bedlam Ltd.

Michelle Hanks
Alain English
Brandon Thorne
Sasha Bond
Paul Singer
Marc Llobet
Avi Mendelson

Production Team
Directors : Jessica McKenna and Avi Mendelson
Lighting : Peter Foster
Sound : Laurence Tuerk

 Beads of Life
3rd July, 2021

A narrative therapy workshop led by two community psychologists which explored our life stories through the medium of beads and enabled reflection of the strengths and challenges that had been experienced over the past year. Led by Angharad Ormond and Sarah Relton.

 The Poetry Project
3rd and
4th July, 2021

A fluid poetry event and unique collaboration between poets, musicians and performers, incorporating performance poetry, music, movement and projected images with an ensemble of performers who traverse landscapes, and consider themes of time collapsing, memory, loneliness, entrapment, longing, survival, hope, love, desire, nature, humour and beauty.

Michelle (Misha) Hanks/Rees – Poetry Project curator, poet
Gabriel Moreno – Poet, Musician
Paul Shine – Pianist, Singer/Songwriter
Verity Rowsell – Poet
Nat Norland – Poet
Andrew Neil Carpenter – Poet
Rosie Reed Gold – Poet, Photographer/Artist, Projection
Sarah Johns – Songwriter, Singer
Rose Mclaren – Poet
Fiammetta Alexander – Singer/Songwriter

Production Team
Curator : Michelle Hanks/Rees
Sound : Phillip Ley

4th July, 2021

Two yoga workshops led by Jude Chalk and Chitranshu Mahajan

 Her Inside : Women in the Lockdown
10th and
11th July, 2021


An outside pavilion at the Old Church, Stoke Newington was the venue for this event which shared poems, performance pieces and other writings which had been contributed to the blog Her Inside: Women in the Lockdown. The blog was set up by long-term Hackney-resident writer/curator Susan Croft to share women’s creative work, historical and contemporary, exploring themes of lockdown and social isolation.

10th and
11th July, 2021


Another event at the Old Church, Stoke Newington : an inspired array of musical performance from a collection of local musicians, including original compositions The Birds by Tamara Douglas-Morris; Full of Beauty, a Cello & Accordion duet written by Martina Schwarz and performed by Christopher Allan & Martina Schwarz; and songs from both the Hackney Song Works and the Boiler House Singers.

 Quiz Night
10th July, 2021

Quiz Master John McSpadyen tested our knowledge.

10th July, 2021


Back at the Old Church, Joanna Foster’s stunning a capella quintet sang inspirational songs of enchantment; a fusion of jazz and soul.
The singers were Cleo Bayley, Joanna Foster, Barbara Gellhorn, Mathew Lane and Camilo Menjura.

11th July, 2021

An introduction to painting workshop presented by local artists from the Sfumato Art Studio.

11th July, 2021


Another event at the Old Church - EARTH, a group of musicians singing songs for the earth and the inner and outer landscape of climate change. XR Music and Sounds musicians and singer songwriters Joanna Foster, Sally Davies, Eve Polycarpou, Maggie Nicols, Martha D Lewis, Alwyne Taylor and more explored Love [and Survival] in the Time of Covid and Climate Change. EARTH stands for Earth is mother, Air we breathe, Rivers we drink, Trees our lungs, Humans are responsible.

 Duologue in a Day
17th July, 2021

Over 20 authors took up a writing challenge, led by Andy Marchant and his Playwriting Collective.

 Gig Night
16th and
17th July, 2021


The Tower Theatre Studio hosted two sessions featuring a diverse range of musical talent : a Jazz quintet, a collection of brilliant vocalists, a pianist, and some humorous singer-songwriters.

Colin Guthrie (piano/accordian)
Joanna Nevin (vocals)
Martin South (bass)
Artis Aleksejevs (percussion)
Mark Smith (saxophone)
Matthew Ibbotson (guitar/vocals)
Mahesh Pakar (piano/tabla)
Devina Vekaria (flute)
Rahul Singh (tabla/vocals)
Paul Willcocks (keyboard/vocals)
Simon Lee (keyboard/vocals)
Jasmine Rachelle (vocals)
Aadi Madj (percussion)

Production Team
Curator : Simona Hughes
Sound : Colin Guthrie, Laurence Tuerk

 The Parent Project
18th July, 2021

An intimate glimpse into how the pandemic changed our relationships with our parents. This one-off event explored real-life parent/child experiences from conception to death.

Born in Lockdown by Mothership Writers
A one-of-a-kind story with 277 different authors and one shared experience : new motherhood in 2020. With kind permission from creator Emylia Hall, and all the mothers that contributed to the project, the Tower Theatre presented a staged reading of a section of the writings. Performed by Tower Theatre actors Helen McGill and Clare Joseph who themselves had given birth during the pandemic.

Emily and I created and performed by Robert and Emily Ashby
A conversation remembering the first Covid lockdown together looking through photos taken at the time, evoking how a young autistic woman and her single parent carer survived the isolation together and helped her to learn better when she later returned to college.

The Road to the Tyne Bridge
A Life in Pictures : Colin Guthrie remembered his mother's long and fruitful life.

Production Team
Curator : Angharad Ormond
Lighting : Laurence Tuerk
Sound and Projection : Matthew Ibbotson
Stage Manager : Jacqui Dickson

Exhibitions and Other Activities

Throughout out the festival there was a host of exhibitions and other activities for everyone to enjoy.

Aladdin's Cave

A fabulous and wide ranging display of art works, crafts and multi-media creations that were produced in lockdown by members of the local community and members of the Tower Theatre.


Dedications in Clay

An open invitiation to the community to sculpt an object in clay that symbolises their experience of the last year; they grabbed a handful of clay, moulded away, then added their piece to the festival exhibition.


Communal Jigsaw

A jigsaw of the Tower building, pieced together by visitors to the Tower bar. This specially designed jigsaw puzzle celebrates Tower Theatre and our local community.

Here To Stay

Commissioned by the NHS in 2018, Inès Elsa Dalal co-created a portrait series and audio soundscape in honour of pioneering nurses and healthcare professionals of the Windrush Generation – just months before the Windrush Scandal hit the headlines ...


Stokey On Lockdown

Created by Alex Amorós, a photo project carried out on the streets of Stoke Newington, shot on daily walks during the lockdown.


The Year Our World Turned Upside Down

Teachers from the St. Paul's Steiner School visited students stuck at home during lockdown, recreating Aberlardo Morell's Camera Obscura photographs. Created by Achala Wickramaratne and Nikolaos Tsogkas.

Future Proof

Short immersive audio pieces written and performed by young people from Hackney Shed. These offerings are 'gifts' to someone in the future sharing the lessons and joys of the last year. What makes you future proof?


Strange Meeting

As the world recovers from a global pandemic a young woman makes her weekly pilgrimage to Abney Park cemetery. A visit of remembrance, or is there something more that keeps bringing her back? This free walk, created by Colin Guthrie, is still available for you to enjoy. Details here



A second free walk, created by Martin South and also still available. A life or death quest among the tombs and monuments of Abney Park. Will you unearth the arcane secret that lies buried at the heart of the cemetery?

For Love [and Survival] in a Time of Covid
Artistic Directors : Ruth Sullivan, Angharad Ormond, Simona Hughes

Some of the exhibitions around the Tower building

Photography by David Sprecher