WRiTEON’s response to the lockdown was to create Zoomologues. Between May 2020 and April 2021, 42 monologues and 30 duologues, by 31 writers, were performed by 52 actors, over twelve nights, to an invited audience on live Zoom video calls. There were the inevitable lockdown stories; exploring how friendships, couple and family relationships might be forged, revived or broken, online, during these strange times, but there were also many other stories, ranging from Greek mythological sports commentators to a futuristic AI Priest and a homicidal clown. Our Zoomologues Gallery (Round 3) inspired wide-ranging interpretations of subjects of portrait paintings and Zoom Not Zoom took us out of Zoom into a range of imagined locations, including a dinosaur cave, a windswept heath, a vaccination centre and the after-life. Most of the writers and actors were local to Cambridge but a few joined us from elsewhere, including London, Edinburgh, France, Belgium and The U.S.A.
Some writers went on to take their Zoomologues pieces to the next level. James Stedman developed his You Know Carol. Ciaran’s Mum (seen in Zoomologues 4, in October 2020), into an eight-part web series, while filmed versions of Barbara Anderson’s Confession (also seen in Zoomologues 4) and Julia Bolden’s A Foray into Romantic Fiction (seen in Zoomologues 5) were accepted in the Short Zoom Theatre Films category of the Manhattan Rep’s Stories Film Festival and viewed online by international audiences, throughout May 2021.
We plan to do further rounds of Zoomologues, even after live theatre makes a proper comeback, so watch out for news of Zoomologues 7, later in the year.
Zoomologues is co-produced by Richard McNally & Julia Bolden
Comments on Zoomologues 1-6 included:
‘I think I may prefer zoom to the experience of being in a theatre!’
‘A real treat! I enjoyed it so much. Thanks to all writers and actors – and let’s do it again soon.’
‘Another set of awesome evenings…I do hope you do more, they work really well and I’m loving some of the new voices we’re hearing…And of course the acting is top notch as well’