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'We are looking at what can be done, not what can’t be done' - Brendon McIlroy

The plan is for a programme of tutored-sessions in theatre, drama, and creative skills to run from the end of May and over the summer

A local arts company is planning to launch a programme of online activities for children.

Brendon McIlroy is the artistic director at West End-based Halo Arts, which he set up five years ago.

He told Glasgow West End Today funding bodies were being sounded out for support.

 Brendon McIlroy is the artistic director at West End-based Halo Arts.
Brendon McIlroy is the artistic director at West End-based Halo Arts.

But he is hopeful that a full programme of theatre, drama, creative skills and activities can start running from the end of May and over the summer.

There will even be sessions on circus skills and hula-hooping.

Brendon said his Re:Connect project was a way of creating “something positive out of the negative of Covid-19”.

Like all aspects of society and the economy, creatives and artists have been severely hit.

Cancelled

Brendon, who works with the West End Festival and the Edinburgh festivals, has lost tens of thousands of pounds in bookings after events were cancelled.

For one reason or another he falls outside the remit of the support schemes set up to help workers and the economy.

“I don’t qualify for Universal Credit because of my partner’s income,” Brendon said.

“I also don’t qualify for the £10,000 business grant because I don’t own the building I work from.

“All of the different bursaries and grants I just seem to fall between the cracks.”

 Halo Arts are heavily involved in the West End Festival, which has been cancelled this year. Photo: Martin Shields
Halo Arts are heavily involved in the West End Festival, which has been cancelled this year. Photo: Martin Shields

Brendon wants to make use of the talent pool of actors and creatives who currently have time on their hands.

His team is planning to run hour-long sessions three times a week online.

Before Covid-19 struck, Halo Arts was running a number of theatre groups and arts hubs across the city.

It now hopes to tap into this network of young people who are currently cut off from their routines and friends.

Brendon said: “This will be a multi-arts project which is all about getting young people to learn skills and learn about different art forms that they wouldn’t normally get to touch on.

“It is basically taking this unique opportunity and time that we have - and using all of these amazing arts workers who have free time and availability.

“We would normally take a while to get these people booked.

"It’s about fusing that together and being able to offer online sessions in things like circus skills and songwriting and music programming.

'It is basically taking this unique opportunity and time that we have - and using all of these amazing arts workers who have free time and availability'

Brendon McIlroy

“We will have drama because that’s the core of everything we do - we can work on individual skills, monologues, everything to hula-hooping.

“We are programming almost a summer’s worth of activities where all the children need to do is a have a log-in and an address and that’s it.

“They can do it live and can join in with their classmates or watch it recorded later.”

He said: “We are trying to turn a negative into a positive.

“We are looking at what can be done as opposed to what can’t be done.”

* Spaces and availability for Re:Connect will be limited and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To register your interest email: info@wearehaloarts.com.

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