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Coronavirus: Anna Fiorentini’s drama school could live-stream classes to survive financial impact of Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 17:54 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:32 17 March 2020

Young people performed hits from The Greatest Showman film at the Anna Fiorentini gala at the Hackney Empire in 2018.

Young people performed hits from The Greatest Showman film at the Anna Fiorentini gala at the Hackney Empire in 2018.

Anna Fiorentini

Bosses at Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School are considering live-streaming classes online if schools end up closing because of coronavirus.

Like most community and arts-based businesses the global pandemic poses a “critical threat” to the drama school which operates out of Clapton Girls School in Laura Place, Lower Clapton, at weekends.

Fees are due next month and Anna is worried that if parents decide to pull their child out should the government order the closure of schools, then the charity she set up 20 years ago will find it hard to continue operating.

But her team has come up with the idea to deliver classes in a “slightly more creative way”, to make sure parents don’t have to pay for a service they might not end up receiving.

Interim online classes would mean pupils can learn and rehearse the songs and dances they will be performing at the school’s 20th anniversary showcase at the Hackney Empire next March.

“As you can imagine this uncertain and challenging time could potentially be a critical threat however, we are determined to survive and retain our dedicated team,” said Anna, who is trying to formulate a survival plan on top of recovering from a flu-like illness, which may well have been Covid-19.

“When it gets to a point that all schools have to shut, then we will be looking at alternative ways to enhance the lives of our students until things go back to normal,” she added.

“Options we are currently looking into include live-streaming of classes - something I am sure all parents will be grateful for if their children are stuck indoors for long periods of time.”

They hope to implement a timetable to include an activity each day.

“There might be half an hour in the morning with say a singing class and half an hour in the afternoon with a drama class,” said Anna. 
“We’ll be looking at keeping children entertained throughout the week and the skills they’ll be learning will help them when they’re off school, and feed into their school studies once they return.

“All my teachers are freelance, so if they don’t work, they don’t get paid,” she said.

“I’m just praying parents still sign up for next term.”

The school has also had to cancel fundraising events for the Fiorentini Foundation, which supports families who cannot afford to pay the school’s fees.

“Of course, over the coming months we imagine many more families are going to be applying to this foundation because of the impact that Covid-19 has had on their lives, but if we can’t continue with our fundraising all money in the foundation is set to run dry,” said Anna.

The school is asking families to think about fundraising ideas that they could pull off themselves to keep the charity afloat.

Anyone who can make a donation can do so here.

People have been advised to stay at home for seven days if they have a high temperature or a new continuous cough.

For NHS guidance on dealing with the virus, see here.

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Have you tested positive for coronavirus? Are you suffering from symptoms associated with the virus? Contact Emma at the Gazette newsdesk on Emma.Bartholomew@archant.co.uk


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