AN award-winning Tyne Valley theatre charity has continued to operate during lockdown with reinvented projects.

Mortal Fools, which is based in Prudhoe, has re-imagined their creative projects with a new digital programme of activities for the young people they work with.

It has also worked on a new professional development programme for individuals and businesses.

Artistic director and CEO Kiz Crosbie explained why she felt Mortal Fools had to keep operating even during the coronavirus crisis.

She said: “We believe that those people with relationships with young people – personal and professional – have a responsibility to maintain and build those relationships and support them during this period; to enhance their lives now and their lives in the future.

“For us, that meant finding new ways to co-create and connect with children and young people digitally.

“We felt a similar responsibility to our whole Mortal Fools network.”

Mortal Fools took the decision to halt all face-to face activities from Friday, March 20.

While this was tough on the young people who attend, the group acted immediately to make sure they could continue to operate.

Kiz continued: “Our priority was to move Mortal Fools from the inevitable ‘survival mode’ – characterised by panic - into ‘reinvention mode’ as quickly as possible.

“Our series of promises gave us ambition and focus whilst reassuring our network that we weren’t going anywhere and that we were still here to support – after all, people are the heart of Mortal Fools, our people come first.

“Once we’d steadied the ship, as a creative organisation, – we did what we do best, engaged our creative brains to come up with creative solutions.”

New techniques have included the creation of digital ambassadors to allow young people to reach out to others and the coronavirus time capsule project, a weekly filmed response to the pandemic through the eyes of young people.

A new series of digital training and development workshops called CONNECT has been launched for organisations and individuals, with the first workshop – Confident Communication on Digital Platforms – already been booked by organisations across the UK.

Mortal Fools has also honoured all freelance contracts whether or not their project has been cancelled, and created new strands of work with paid opportunities for their freelancers.

Mortal Fools Ensemble Young Company Member, Ben Grainger (18)shared his Mortal Fools experience so far: “Working with Mortal Fools during lock down has reiterated just how strongly Mortal Fools value the young people that they work with.

“We have been offered so many opportunities despite the challenging times we’re in.

“They have helped me stay creative and engaged at a time I really needed it.”

Matthew Tuckey – Freelance Sound Designer; part of Mortal Fools Associate Team added: “Mortal Fools’ promises to audiences, participants and associate practitioners have been public, honest and timely.

“Their support has gone above and beyond their obligation. It’s on par with national industry bodies.”

The creative organisation is already planning for a busy 2021.