TRENDS Diary: Daily Prompts Evoke Artistry Amidst Quarantine

Pesha Rudnick, Local Theater Company’s founding artistic director

TRENDS Diary, a project of the Community Foundation of Boulder County, is a place for Boulder County residents of all ages to share personal experiences that relate to a pressing community need. The focus, for now, is on our shared need to connect and solve problems, despite the increased isolation we’re all experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Dear TRENDS Diary,

Pesha: During the first week of stay at home orders, every morning felt like waking up to the great unknown. With our spring season — Local Lab new play festival, and Sin Eaters — canceled, we started a dialogue with our Associate Artists, Local Theater Company’s core group of creative collaborators. We emerged with CO-LAB Daily: a daily prompt series to bring creativity and ritual into people’s inbox every weekday during the month of April. Over 200 people opted in to the month-long program.

Nick: We welcomed anyone who had a story and needed a ritual.

Pesha: Each morning, we’d send a creative prompt via email and Instagram. They ranged from writing haikus to sharing playlists, taking photos. People wrote songs and recorded them. We found a lot of people prefacing entries with, ‘I’m not an artist but…’ and then they’d send us a scene that was so much more wild and inventive than they expected from themselves.

Nick: It was nice to see people flexing a dormant muscle.

Pesha: The crisis created this necessity to express. We generated so much original content that we are talking within the company about how to distill it into something. It was a 30-day time capsule in the month of April, which was the most severe time of stay-at-home.

Nick: When things were especially intense, very disorienting, it was something that buoyed me. It was a bit of consistency.

Pesha: CO-LAB gave us many days together as a family. We’d do it over dinner. Having something familiar and positive felt like it was authentic and honest but not pollyanna in a time of so much uncertainty. I think our audience can look forward to some sort of revival in June.

– Pesha Rudnick and Nick Chase, as told to Shay Castle