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Statement from Jodie Wainwright, CEO Milk Crate Theatre

I last wrote on the 18 March as Milk Crate Theatre suspended public programs and the core team moved out of the office to work from home. One month on and what a changed world we live in!

The last month has been tough for Milk Crate Theatre, our participants, our community of artists and the world in general. However, through this period of challenge we have seen some extraordinarily bright moments as our community has remained connected and creative; reminding us of why we are here.

Our community of participants, many of whom have lived experience of homelessness or challenges with mental health have been particularly vulnerable. Not just to the physical health impacts of COVID-19 but to the impacts of increased social isolation created through the restrictions on social gathering. Challenging in so many ways to a group of people who have worked so hard to build connections and work creatively in a positive way.

Our community of artists are doing it just as tough. Many are out of work with whole seasons and programs having been cancelled or suspended – not just by Milk Crate but across the sector.

COVID-19 has also impacted Milk Crate Theatre as an organisation with changes to our sources of funding and ability to deliver programs as designed. This has meant we have had to make some changes to our organisation to respond to the situation.”

So, whilst we recognise the shared burden of COVID-19 on all, we look to share a light at the end of the tunnel. The Board and Management of Milk Crate Theatre have been working hard to navigate a pathway through this year and to provide confidence that we will be able to continue working with our community of participants and artists well into the future.

We believe we have found this pathway forward and whilst it presents some further challenges in the short term, want to reassure our community that we are focused on ensuring that Milk Crate Theatre is sustainable well into the future and is able to deliver on our mission of working with the community to change the story of homelessness.

So, what does this all mean?

In the short term, our core team including myself, Margot, Lisa and Dale are working reduced hours. We have spread our hours across Monday-Thursday but unfortunately, we will no longer be operating on a Friday until we are able to secure further funding to provide programs in the community. You can reach us via mobile numbers and email.

The team has done an amazing job transforming our workshops for online delivery and I’m delighted to say that we will keep doing this and hope to continue to connect with as many participants, artists and community members as possible through our website and live sessions on social media.

For our community of artists, we have not been able to find funding at this stage to continue to offer their additional support however we continue to seek funding to bring our wonderful artists back into the Milk Crate Theatre family as soon as possible.

For our community of participants, whether you have been with us for a long time or are new to our programs, we look forward to continuing to connect with you through our online program and encourage you to keep in contact via phone, email, mail or message. And I truly look forward to catching up with you all in person (once we are able) to connect and share all the amazing work that I’m sure you’ll create through this period.

Kindest regards,

Jodie Wainwright

CEO, Milk Crate Theatre

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