In the winter of 2020, Glimmer transformed a former temp agency office into a magical Pop-Up Story Shop. The aim of the shop was simple: we wanted to bring some theatrical magic to a beleaguered high street, by bringing to life stories and experiences shared with us over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The centrepiece of our shop windows was ‘The Quarantine Quilt’, a beautiful red and white patchwork created by people across East Anglia, each patch describing an individual’s experience of the first national lockdown. We also received stories through our shop letterbox and online, from which we created displays and performances in our shopfront theatre.
Over nearly three months, people passing by on the street outside were able to look through our windows, performers and audience safely separated by glass, and see eclectic spectacles including live music and dance, rehearsals in progress for a new play, beautiful shadow puppetry, a 2 minute pantomime and lots more.
We hope that the shop gave the thousands of people who walked by the opportunity to escape into a fantastical world, even if just for a few moments, in the midst of these dark and difficult times.
Producers: Andrew Brock and Sophie Crawford
Directors: Tamara Astor and Andrew Brock
Performers: Tamara Astor, Rosalind Lailey and Deli Segal
Design: Andrew Brock
Videographer and Editor: Rhys Votano
The project was supported with funding from Arts Council England. With extra special thanks to St Andrew’s St Baptist Church for their support.
The galleries below offer a glimpse of a few of the window performances we created. Each title was taken from a story or experience submitted by a member of the public. We hope it will serve as a visual and aural archive of these extraordinary times.