COVID-19 is a challenge unlike any of us have known. BITA took the decision to close its doors on the 16th March 2020 to protect our students and their families.
We issued a statement on our social media pages and immediately began work on how we would continue to function as BITA.
What became very apparent early on was the need of our students as opposed to the need of a bank balance. Having no real overheads, BITA is able to operate whenever and wherever it is needed and so we kept in touch with the students via Zoom and Facebook Live in their group. They were so incredibly grateful to see some other faces and to have some pastoral input that wasn't about maintaining their training.
We began to meet regularly online and hosting a Musical Theatre quiz with BITA friends and families every Sunday at 8pm.
As soon as we realised that the students wanted more contact and content, we set up a private Q&A with Stourbridge-born actor Jack Loxton. Jack was nominated in February 2020 for an Olivier for his role as Jared in Dear Evan Hansen.
For this, we teamed up with Brilliant Theatre Arts and both sets of students came together to learn so much about Jack, his career and his priceless advice.
During the social lockdown, we realised that a great deal of our student's parents were key workers, either in education or with the NHS.
With nothing but time on our hands, we got the kids together (virtually!) and made a thank you video to these amazing people, but also to those key workers around the country who are sacrificing so much for so many right now.
Attiye got itchy feet by week three and got the students together for a one-hour dance class via Zoom.
This wasn't without it's challenges as there was a time lag as well as whose left is left etc!
We were so impressed with the outcome, that Tia asked the students to record themselves doing the dance at home and then she spent a couple of days putting this video together.
Chris had the idea (mid fever!) to open a free and live concert series from the homes of our talented students and friends. The idea was to provide some entertainment, however we would ask for small donations to any charity (at the choice of the performer)
Our very own Jesus, Dec Foster, kicked the series off. As well as performing to well over 100 people live, his concert is being streamed by thousands everyday and he raised over £1000 - and climbing - for The Brain Tumour Charity.
By May, QuaranTunes has been viewed over 20,000 times and raised £3000 for charitable and local causes.
On 11th May, we announced our postponement of our May showcase Resurrection which will now take place in April 2021.
We'd like to thank James and the team at The Blue Orange Theatre for being so understanding and flexible during this chaotic time.
THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED
With the world in flux, we decided to relaunch and become:
Launching as The Musical Theatre Institute (TMTI), we are keeping everything the same in Birmingham but adding a school in London under the leadership of West End star Kieran Brown.
We are also delighted that Broadway and West End legend Marisha Wallace will be joining our family as a patron.