This time last year, many of us had enjoyed the live events put on as part of the Horsham District Year of Culture. The beauty and history of area was celebrated and exhibited through the wonderful artistic talent we have across the District.
The Capitol, our much loved local venue, played host to many of the Year of Culture’s events and I know they would have had another exciting programme of events arranged for this year.
The Capitol, as well as many other theatres, clearly could not go ahead with their events as planned but when I visited the Capitol a few weeks ago, I was deeply impressed by the work done by staff to re-furbish the venue and to ensure the Capitol was a safe place for customers.
I very much agree with the sentiments of Dame Judi Dench who recently recorded a video encouraging local residents to return to the Capitol and to support the arts.
Last week, the Government announced that 588 arts organisations would each receive a share of £76 million through the Culture Recovery Fund. I was very pleased to hear that as part of this round of funding, the Capitol was awarded £182,000.
Indoor live performances have been allowed to return, albeit with socially distanced audiences and I know the Capitol have tickets available for a number of live events and film screenings.
I am also very aware of the impact on our amateur dramatic groups. On previous occasions, I have very much enjoyed attending productions put on by the Horsham Amateur and Operatic Dramatic Society and I am pleased groups such as HAODS are now allowed to rehearse. Whilst the Government has been focussed on supporting on professional companies and the many people they directly and indirectly employ, I am aware of the costs that HAODS and similar groups have incurred as a result of the pandemic.
I am very much looking forward to the return of cultural opportunities and to once again enjoy many of the artistic endeavours across the constituency. However we are all aware that it may be some considerable time still before life returns closer to normal and the increase in cases is deeply concerning.
It is not just the arts who have had a difficult time. As we all know, it has been a difficult time for businesses. I have been very impressed with the ingenuity many businesses have shown in finding new ways to operate during these challenging times.
One such local businesses is Tulley’s Farm, near Turners Hill who would normally, be in the full swing of their annual “Shocktober” event.
Tulley’s worked incredibly hard throughout lockdown by providing a drive through farm shop, using local suppliers to help support other local businesses.
Instead of “Shocktober”, Tulley’s are holding drive-in cinema “Horror Nights” with a number of screenings and live actors to add to the horror themed evenings. Tulley’s have also adapted their seasonal pumpkin picking event to allow customers to pick the 150,000 pumpkins in a Covid secure way!
Photo Credit: Jeremy Quin visited Tulley's Farm last week to hear about their enterprising approach to Halloween!