Case Study: Surviving Lockdown

This case study is part of our project evaluation for Phase 2.

During the first summer of the pandemic in 2020, MarketPlace supported Wisbech photographers Jenna Bristow and Steve Hubbard of Click Therapy CIC to create a collection of images that tell a story of a town coping with Covid19. The project developed into an exploration into the connection between the medium of photography to support people’s wellbeing and mental health.

Read the full Surviving Lockdown case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.

An excerpt from the case study:

During the first summer of the pandemic in 2020, Wisbech photographers Jenna Bristow and Steve Hubbard of Click Therapy CIC created a collection of images that tell a story of a town coping with Covid19. As photographers interested in using digital cameras to support people’s wellbeing and mental health, they invited local residents to contribute three words that summed up their life experiences during lockdown as a portrait and record of Wisbech in that time. The Creative Conversations in Lockdown commission created a book of resident feelings and stories left over a dedicated phone and text service called Lockdown Easedown. They were capturing a universal moment in time this project was revisited for further development.

As the pandemic continued, a further investment was made to continue to evolve this project idea and document the impact of the latest lockdown on residents. The power of sharing and telling stories that resonated from the first book, ‘Lockdown Easedown’, was highlighted as a development opportunity to be embedded from the beginning of this second commission. Partnering with writer Bel Greenwood, lunchtime online workshops developed the creative writing skills and contributions of Wisbech residents, the Click Therapy artists and community organisers to reflect upon their experiences.

The participants wanted to share their stories more widely, they lent themselves to being performed but the participants didn’t want to do that themselves, so a connection with the local theatre group was made. The vulnerable nature of some of the stories being shared could have left participants increasingly vulnerable by sharing them directly, alongside developing new skills to adapt and perform their work. Drawing upon the skills and interests of community producer Jodie Hicks, she reformed her theatre troupe to bring the experiences of selected stories to life and launch the second book, ‘Surviving Lockdown’.

“I’ve been in a theatre group with my friends Chris and Glenn for a couple of years. So we haven’t actually done anything for a long time, and then I started working for MarketPlace. Colin, Creative Agent, spoke about my interests, and I said my primary interest is theatre and stuff like that. Colin, just kind of, came up to me and said, ‘I have an idea I’ve been working on with Click Therapy that would lend itself quite well to kind of theatrical reading. And would you, or know anyone, [who would] be up for it?’ And I kind of thought, well, it seemed quite ideal for us and to see them as kind of monologues.” – Jodie Hicks, Alternate Orbit Theatre

Read the full Surviving Lockdown case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.


We’ve loved working with Click Therapy in co-creating their second book SURVIVING LOCKDOWN. The colourful book is a powerful combination of photography and heartfelt writing about life during the lockdowns of 2020/21.

The book contains moving, sometimes funny stories and naturally lend themselves to monologues and performance.


How the book began

Wisbech community members were working with Click Therapy, taking photographs that reflected their personal lives and situations during the pandemic. Talking with Jenna and Steve about the difficulties of meeting during lockdowns, we suggested trying some creative writing – a new development for them.

The writing began in a short series of lunchtime online workshops with writer Bel Greenwood acting as facilitator. Community writers shared their personal contributions, and with Belona’s support formed creative documentary pieces.

Creative Activities with toddlers

SURVIVING LOCKDOWN is an honest snapshot of people’s lives during one of the most difficult periods of recent history. How they coped. Thier fears, worries and their successes.

Founder of CLICK Therapy, Steve Hubbard said: “The creative writing aspect was new to us all, a photograph can speak a 1000 words, but a blank sheet is filled with the silent voices within you”.

Creative Agent Colin began to feel that the writing would be served well by some theatrical attention. It was lucky then that he was talking to three young people in Fenland who were beginning to explore the idea of setting up a theatre company.

AlternateOrbit Theatre

Community performers Jodie Hicks, Christopher Crowther & Glen O’Gorman met each other during their teenage years with 20Twenty Productions. They were interested in establishing a theatre company in Fenland . Colin felt their energy and age would offer some interesting adaptation to the Surviving Lockdown content.

In just 3 short rehearsals the team brought a staged rehearsed reading at The Oasis Centre in Wisbech on Friday 22nd October. It was received with great enthusiasm and thanks to a Community Connector’s links to the local Libraries the show was presented at Wisbech Library and March Library.

Many will connect with the themes of loss, isolation, mental health and community support. There is emotional content but it is suitable for a family audience (12+ yrs).

Image reads: “The Lockdown has made me aware of how selfish people can become. Selfish people were buying everything up and not thinking of the elderly and vulnerable…”

Take a look at some highlights of the show or watch the full performance at the end of the page:

Highlights from the performance at the Oasis Centre in Wisbech

Bel Greenwood – Facilitator

Belona is a former journalist and an experienced co-writer with community groups. She has been helping many groups find and develop their voice through writing and is also the lead facilitator of the Fenscapers who produce the Leaping the Landscape blog.

We have all been through so many different emotions and experiences over the last year. Isn’t it time to hope that we can move on? Here’s hoping…

Grab a cuppa and watch the full performance of SURVIVING LOCKDOWN here:

Subtitled by Stagetext

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Escape from Fort Lagoon R&D

Read our Young Producer Jodie’s experience of the day here.

Escape from Fort Lagoon is an immersive ‘theatre game’ created by Wake the Beast (Adam McGuigan) and Submersion Productions (Jude Jagger). We have been an active partner in their Research & Development work since 2019. We’ve been lucky to have a group of local community members who have formed a ‘Creative Collective’ that has provided a springboard for feedback on ideas and the concept of the theatre production.

Escape from Fort Lagoon is set in the future where water is a precious commodity and is controlled by an oppressive government who restrict access to the water to the elite (a theme that surely resonates with many right now in the rollout of the pandemic).

Once the Covid19 conditions allowed, Adam and Jude invited the Collective to do some location scouting in their home towns and further afield. Towns with a nearby body of water being the main practical consideration for this piece.

The Collective members came up with different locations and devised their own maps, highlighting interesting features of their area. With local knowledge they fed ideas into many of the creative elements that will end up in the final show.

These included news reports, set design, crowd interactions and environmental issues that are highlighted within the theatre piece.

The Fort Lagoon team visited the region to gain an understanding of our area and the challenges that exist in putting on a large scale theatre event. During the few days spent in Chatteris, March, Brandon and Mildenhall, the team got to test out the mobile phone app that will act as a device for audience members to navigate the game.

They also went for a spot of wild swimming and tested the new choral parts with the Cant Sing Choir in March. Having that time to test out elements of the show was extremely valuable and having the time to explore the spaces meant that the piece can be influenced by the landscape and the people in those areas.

The team got a lot of inspiration from the décor at Johnsons of Old Hurst Tropical House near Chatteris, (marred only slightly by Jude dropping her phone into the crocodile enclosure). Residents of Mildenhall were calling out supportive comments as the gang tested swimming in their local river and Brandon’s Market Square was buzzing with activity. Many people chatting in the square wanted to know more about the project and how they could get involved.

Submersion Productions now plan to secure funding to present the piece in summer 2023 in the area and all our fingers are crossed and watch this space!

Read our Young Producer Jodie’s experience of the day here.

Take a look at the Flickr gallery of the location visits here.

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