A COLCHESTER venue has been spreading some joy as people adapted to life under social distancing rules.

Colchester Arts Centre, in Church Street, shut its doors last week and postponed performances for the foreseeable future due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

After closing, arts centre director Anthony Roberts sent out a message on social media offering to recite poems to anyone in need but who couldn’t get to a venue due to social distancing.

He said: “Sometimes the show just can’t go on.

“There are people in our community who might need a bit of support with something, might need us to come round with a poem or ring them with a poem or just to have a conversation.

“We love you as much as you love the theatre, so we are here and we want to be more than just cancellations.”


Anthony posted poems on the arts centre Facebook page and set up outside places were people could hear poems without leaving their homes or workplaces.

He visited Colchester solicitors Goody Burrett to share the love and has also spoken outside windows of people confined by the pandemic.

A spokesman for the arts centre said: “With echoes of Italy in our minds, workers from adjacent buildings greeted each other and introduced themselves from their office windows.

“Anthony then read aloud five poems to much applause with office workers saying how much it had lifted their spirits after a difficult week.”

The Warm and Toasty Club initiative, a community arts project which brings together elderly people at free weekly story and entertainment sessions, has also been finding ways to keep people connected.

It will host a Facebook live memory afternoon on Friday.

Organiser Johnno Casson added: “We might not be able to be with you in person at the moment but I think of you every single day and miss our memory afternoon gatherings. This is just a pause and I’m still working on future ideas and events for you all.

“If anyone is feeling a little low and could just do with a chat on the phone then I’m around most days after midday on 07594154709.

“Likewise, if you have the number of someone who could do with cheering up, message us and I’ll give them a ring.”

Visit www.facebook.com/thewarmandtoastyclub.