Mountview staff and students are putting their performing arts and costume-making skills to good use during the COVID-19 crisis.
First year Musical Theatre student Elspeth Day-Collins is now working on the NHS frontline as a ward helper at St Mary’s Hospital.
She helps with easier tasks to allow nurses to focus on the most important jobs including caring COVID-19 patients.
“This is totally new work for me,” she says, “As someone that is less vulnerable to COVID I wanted to do my part and help out where I could during this pandemic.
“Because hospitals aren’t allowing visitors, one of the best parts has been helping older patients to connect with their families over FaceTime.”
Amid ongoing PPE shortages, Mountview’s costume department has stepped in to turn its hand to making gowns.
Kate and Megan are sewing scrubs for the surgeries and medical centres in the Bromley area, and working to build a relationship with their local hospital to start supplying them too.
Costume supervisor Katie Higgins has been sewing supplies for her local hospital in Kent, and also for the English National Opera Scrubs Team, who are coordinating a response to supply four central London Hospitals including King’s.
Meanwhile, MA Creative Producing student Lote Pupola and her housemates have been making visors.
“We worked together with Light Initiative (an events company my housemate works for), and got hold of a 3D printer to start printing visors,” Lote explains.
“My housemate’s sister is an NHS nurse and we deliver the visors to her and others to distribute amongst their colleagues.
“We’ve done it all without any infrastructure or support, but it has gone well so far – we have helped Light Initiative in making and distributing over 1000 visors in the past two weeks.”
Other Mountview students have been using their drama and theatre skills to keep spirits up.
“I used to be a children’s entertainer,” says Georgia Mann, first year Musical Theatre student, “so I thought that doing a Facebook Live Video dressed as Moana might lift someone’s spirits.
“I did a singalong of lots of Disney fan favourites and it got a great response. It was really lovely to see that something so simple brought a lot of smiles and cheerfulness in this challenging time.”
Mountview teachers have also been expanding their reach. Meredith Dufton, Joint Head of Movement, has been teaching a Chi Kung exercise class to her street.
“People come out to the front of their houses to do it and we all socially distance,” she says.
“The people who attend are aged from seven to 92 and I try and use material that everyone can do, more or less! It’s been a huge success and great for stopping people feeling isolated.
“I think it has been one of the things to cement the sense of community in our street as when the class is over everyone has a bit of a chat from a distance and we see how everyone is.”