I feel like I’m the next Jojo Moyes with a title like that – and although the title may be slightly premature, it does feel like there’s a general sense of COVID being ‘over’. Restrictions have been scrapped, what we remember of ‘normal life’ seems to have resumed, and, most importantly for us, live events are back! I think we can all agree that the past (almost) 2 years have been strange, to say the least.
It’s not all been gloom and doom, and the pandemic has certainly given me a newfound appreciation for the smaller things in life. We had the best weather for months on end, wildlife emerging from the shadows, baking endless batches of sourdough and banana bread, Captain Sir Tom Moore, Tiger King, zoom quizzes and for me… people being legally obliged to stay at least 2 metres away from me in the supermarket, so I could do my shopping in peace.
Then the not-funny-at-the-time-but-you-can-sit-back-and-laugh-about-it-now kind of things…
The toilet roll shortage, home-schooling (parents, take a bow), being ‘let out’ for your 1 hour of daily exercise, and the unforgettable “You must work from home if you can, but if you can’t then go to work, but don’t take public transport… unless you have to” saga.
On one occasion, somebody reported that a secret dance class may be taking place at our studios, but we assured the local police it was a socially distanced rehearsal, which adhered to government guidelines.
We were, of course happy to cooperate, though unfortunately the officers didn’t fancy themselves as the next Ginger Spice.
Adjusting to lockdowns and guidelines (and whatever else Boris sprung our way) didn’t come without it’s challenges, but Valcato have an incredible team who all adapted and overcame any obstacle presented to us. Our production team were tirelessly working behind the scenes to keep the company afloat; re-arranging countless gigs, sourcing suitable venues for socially distanced rehearsals and re-choreographing each show to adhere to all guidelines. The pandemic has taught us to be more resilient as a business, to take the lows with the highs, and look to create a positive out of any negative that gets thrown our way. It’s been a hard lesson learnt, but one we wouldn’t take back as our business has improved as a result.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that we were fortunate enough to receive a grant from the Government Culture Recovery Fund, which allowed us the breathing space to continue operating as an entertainment entity. Our very own MD, Jay, had this to say about how the funding would help Valcato survive, “The Culture Recovery Fund has been a vital lifeline to our business and to our team of creatives over the past 12 months. Continued investment has allowed our team to continue doing what they love, and our business to continue to supply award-winning entertainment solutions to venues across the UK; from theatres and music halls to festivals and holiday resorts. We’ll be doubling down on our commitment to our local area with a fresh investment into our Burslem production studios and our ongoing Local Outreach Programme which allows local creatives; from performance groups to filmmakers to use our industry-leading facilities for their next production.” You can read more about Valcato and the Government Culture Recovery Fund here.
I think one of the key factors in what Jay said is that Valcato has continued, and not fallen pray to the pandemic unlike so many other unfortunate businesses. Looking into company figures, we’re so proud to say that we were able to pay out over £125,000 in fees to our performers and creatives throughout the pandemic. Just to put this into perspective, during the 18-month peak of the pandemic, live entertainment was banned for more than 60% of the time. To add to this, many venues/customers were still sceptical of attending events during this 18-month stint, even when restrictions allowed them to go ahead, making it hard to get bookings in. At Valcato, we’re forever proud of the team and we’re continuing to grow from strength to strength, as we transition into the ‘new normal’.
So, what does a post-COVID Valcato look like? In one word – promising! We have two new recruits helping support our already incredible production and creative team, and possible plans to add more in future. Our incredible casts are working tirelessly and we’re forever grateful for their commitment. And, to top it all off, we’re working on so many amazing ideas for the 22’/23′ season and we’re itching to show you all.
We’re here to stay!
If you’re still worried about COVID and putting on a live event in your venue, we are still able to provide you with a socially distanced show. All our of cast members have had Valcato COVID-19 training to follow our COVID safe guidelines for rehearsals, travel, shows and everything else in between.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to put your mind at ease.
Ciao for now, Otti x