Merry Christmas from Eastside

What a year 2020 has been…for so many reasons it was a year to remember as well as a year to forget.  I am sure that everyone has had to work incredibly hard just to reach this point.

I can honestly say that looking back over the year,  I feel deeply proud of everything Eastside has achieved together with you, our friends, supporters and partners in spite of the enormous challenges.  To finish this year we wanted to remember 12 positives which I hope will bring a smile to your face as we approach the holidays. 

1. I know I wish I will – making our national spoken-word poetry project go digital – within 5 days of the first lockdown on March 16th  – we bravely celebrated World Poetry day achieving 29,978 views on a newly created Digital Stage.

2. Eastside at Home: Creativity Challenges – Eastside built bespoke online resources for the Lockdown – 5 new video challenges, which we sent out to over 2000 schools across London, specially designed by our creative team for anyone to take part in at home or at school. 

3. Responding to Black Lives Matter and young people’s wellbeing Eastside created its first Interactive Creative Video Workshops – made available across the nation, helping support a smooth return to school life for over 25000 children and young people. Watch the trailer here

4. Concluding Verse versus Verse and launching a new spoken word programme.  
Eastside completed its third and final year of our flagship creative literacy project Verse vs Verse with 7 primary schools and 2 SEN schools across London. To celebrate, Eastside built a special online celebration page showcasing 48 videos featuring animated movies, short films and poetry performances created by children during the 3-year project. We simultaneously launched a CPD online hub for teachers comprising videos in a range of art forms including animation, filmmaking, storytelling, creative writing and poetry. 

In addition, Eastside is proud to announce funding for a legacy project entitled Word Power which will celebrate youth voice and the spoken word – Big Thanks to John Lyon’s Charity for this.

5. Delivering our first remote BFI Film Academy
After an in-person first day with our students – we have used a blended learning model with students successfully working together to shoot 4 films via online platforms, using stock footage and filming within students’ own homes. We can’t wait to showcase the completed films in spring 2021

6. Launching our 2020 Females in Film programme:
Eastside successfully kicked off the Females in Film mentoring project – specifically designed for up and coming female filmmakers and writers. As well as pairing 10 students with industry mentors we have also provided each mentee with a production budget to help them develop their own work.

7. Launching our first national publication – The I know I wish I will poetry anthology contains over 350 poems from over 800 youthful individual or group poets, with support for our launch from Stephen Fry, Olivia Coleman as well as Eastside patrons Gary Wilmot, Katie Derham, Patti Boulaye, Adrian Lester and Zoe Wannamaker. Order your copy here and read what the papers say here.

8. Eastside secured Cultural Recovery Fund support helping us make our building more Covid secure, enabling more students and staff to connect with us remotely and helping us invest in new film and digital technology to create and stream live creative workshops into schools across the country.

9. Eastside launched a new partner schools initiative with Southwark Borough Council helping us deliver 10 bespoke artist residencies in primary schools across Southwark.

10. Eastside relaunched its schools’ workshops programme in September delivering our first interactive Zoom workshops in schools reaching over 2500 children across 12 schools

11. Another Eastside first!  We successfully delivered our first interactive webinar reaching over 1500 children and 16 schools. “The children relished the chance to take part in some drama and were really engaged in the workshop. They were properly excited and all super keen to share their performances, which were really good” 

12. Making young voices heard through film and digital  – The pandemic hasn’t stopped Eastside Productions & Eastside Film crew who have courageously persevered to complete new films by successfully editing an impressive number of videos – take a look on our YouTube page for more.

Work includes filming a theatre show by Clean Break theatre company in February 2020…read more about it in our blog with editor Sade Briggs…and creating our own We are Eastside ‘about us’ film to explain our ethos and what Eastside is all about. 

I hope you have enjoyed being part of our 2020 and will continue to stay close to us as we prepare for 2021. As ever your support is so powerful – it helps us keep going.

Wishing you a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year, 

Matt and the whole Eastside team