31st Dec 2020
Happy New Year: Here’s to 2021 & Celebrating 10 Years of Bakehouse!
In the beginning, 2020 was shaping up to be a very exciting year for Bakehouse. We had emerged from our biggest, busiest and best Christmas season ever, were partnering with a University on a significant academic research project, had an exciting fun-filled summer planned involving dinosaurs, giant bouncy castles and floating pirate ships, and were working towards an even larger Christmas 2020. Conversations with licensing partners were going really well for exciting collaborations, and all was looking busy for Team Bakehouse.
Now, as we come to the end of the exhausting and surreal ride that was 2020, it is abundantly clear that it hasn’t gone the way any of us had planned. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our events industry comrades in lamenting all of the amazing festivals, shows, concerts, theatre shows, gigs, and immersive experiences that should have happened this year but were unable to. Yes, there have been positives when you look for them, but let’s not mince words – it was a bloody awful year for everyone in the events industry, and it was no different for us.
Whilst we were fortunate to receive a lifeline grant from The Arts Council Cultural Recovery Fund, we have still been forced to make many extremely tough decisions to ensure we weather the storm. The biggest difficulty has been not being able to do what we love – creating live events and engaging with people. However, being the resourceful & creative types we are, we have developed some new ways of working, some new production techniques, online structures and new technologies which we are excited to share.
The team put their imagination and skill to good use to create a wonderful online Christmas show in late December. The show was a raging success with family audiences bopping, dancing and enthusiastically shouting along with the interactive show on a seamless journey through magical worlds, culminating in an intimate audience with Father Christmas in a group ‘zoom room’. It was truly marvellous to see technology transporting our family audiences and enabling the magic rather than detracting from it. We are delighted to have mastered a live show over zoom, and incredibly excited to see where this new platform takes us in 2021 and beyond.
We have also been developing numerous options for Augmented Reality experiences – allowing us to embed the magic of live performance into posters, murals, props, sculptures and theatre sets. As our R&D continues, the opportunities and applications for these technologies are evidentially huge, and we are excited to be working alongside partners in retail, education, entertainment and hospitality during 2021 to move this forward. These new developments have not only allowed us to produce Covid-safe work during the latter part of 2020; but will also allow us to continue to grow creatively beyond all this. For Bakehouse, like so many companies, there is a new normal, and for us that will mean being able to produce work in reality, virtual reality and augmented reality – and for this we are very excited.
Looking to 2021 & 10 Years of Bakehouse…
This year we are not only looking back on 2020, but also reflecting on the whole of the last decade of working together. Excitingly and remarkably (for we don’t look a day older than when we began) 2021 represents 10 years of Bakehouse brilliance! From the first musical Easter Bunny treasure hunt to Christmas Experiences for 30,000 ticket holders, via Massive Magical Bean Machines and Tashatoriums, exclusive VIP parties to stage shows for tens of thousands – we have had a blast and we’ve loved (nearly!) every minute. We have been able reach audiences who perhaps haven’t had much experience of theatres, to orchestrate magical moments of live performance and interrupt people’s days by bringing joy where it was unexpected.
Whilst we are understandably thrilled at the memory of the spectacular stage shows and large-scale installations, we also truly treasure the small museums we have built to honour local history and industry in mill towns, glass making, football greats, myths and legends of moor and shore. We are also incredibly proud of the community outreach and partnerships we have undertaken with schools, community centres, nursing homes, hospitals, performing arts groups and local charities.
During the course of the last decade we have been delighted to have the absolute privilege to work with hundreds of fabulous performers, makers, painters, costumiers, puppeteers, carpenters, dressers, project managers… the list goes on. The collaboration, commitment and dedication of these talented folk are at the heart of Bakehouse, and we cannot wait to see everyone’s faces again doing what we all do best as soon as it’s possible.
For now, we simply pledge to remain ever-inquisitive, hungry for new challenges, creatively nimble, to always have a can-do attitude and, most importantly, be grateful every day that we get to go to work doing something that we love so much with such inspiring and talented people around us.
Here we are, writing this on New Year’s Eve and we propose a toast: it’s bottoms up to 2020, here’s to a rosy 2021 for everyone, and a joyful “CHEERS!” from all of us to the next ten years of Bakehouse…
Kate, Hannah and Dan x