Over the past several weeks as the Coronavirus Crisis has unfolded it has become clear that those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds have been hit the hardest. From those working in front line jobs to the inequality of the lockdown experience, people from working class communities are more likely to be affected by the virus.

The magnitude and weight of this pandemic only magnifies the physical, emotional, social and financial barriers working-class artists will face in theatre moving forwards – although there’s no reason it should be this way.

Directors Stef O’Driscoll and Caitriona Shoobridge set up the Class and Coronavirus project initially as a space for working class, benefit class, criminal class and underclass artists (WBCU-C) to check in during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the group’s initial conversation, the project has:

  • Supported WBCU-C artists to stay connected through the Class and Coronavirus online monthly meeting.
  • Provided support for artists experiencing barriers to accessing opportunities online.
  • Supported emerging artists to participate in online skills-based support by paying them to participate.
  • A smaller group of artists from the Class and Coronavirus community and in partnership with COMMON has been formed to develop a response to the ongoing challenges faced by working class, benefit class, criminal class and underclass artists during this time. We hope this collective conversation may inform further conversations with the sector to ensure that support for artists and class diversity is a part of our national narrative post COVID-19.
  • The response group consists of:
    • Alessandra Davison @alessadavison
    • Alice Straker @alicestraker
    • James Baldwin @thebaldwinjames
    • John Wilkinson @johnrwillkinson1
    • Mandeep Kaur Glover @M_KGlover
    • Naomi Westerman @naomi_jw
    • Sameena Hussain @sam_pocahontas
    • Yasmeen Arden @yasmeenarden
    • Kat Woods @katwoods79
    • David Loumgair @davidloumgair
    • Nessah Muthy

Class and Coronavirus is supported by New Diorama Theatre, RTYDS and Young Vic Directors Program.

To find out more you can Contact Stef and Cat c/o rtyds@rtyds.co.uk and follow