This week, the county is celebrating Norfolk Creativity and Wellbeing Week. The events are part of a national festival celebrating the power of creativity and culture to improve our wellbeing. 

Here at Norwich Theatre, we know the transformative effects of creativity. It can boost overall health outcomes, build confidence, and improve mental health. It also has the ability to immediately transform someone’s mood that day, helping them feel calmer and happier. 

More than this, though, people need to create. 

We all know personally the effects that creativity had during the Covid pandemic. We baked banana bread, crocheted, painted rainbows, made music, and even learned circus acrobatics … but enough about what I got up to during lockdown. 

The point is, when life felt dire, and we felt alone, we created. It was our life raft to get through stormy seas, and in doing so, we felt better.

It is not anecdotal evidence, either. A survey by Feeding Creativity found that respondents report a variety of positive emotions. The study found that 50pc of us feel happy and 49pc relaxed when being creative. 

Furthermore, 93pc of Brits think having the space and freedom to be creative is important to their wellbeing.

That is staggering, and it is why we make an active effort at Norwich Theatre to celebrate this week and encourage our staff and volunteers to try something new, with a range of activities on offer at no cost. 

For us, it is about being a great place to work and living our value of creativity with our people, our audience, and our participants. 

This week we have crochet for beginners with Ellen Siegert (Crazy Hippo Crochet); Yoga; a workplace massage with Gillian Dean; Kayaking with Broadland Paddlesport; Clubbercise with Chloe’s Dance Fitness Norwich; Draw and Explore with Sophia Shuvalova; and Paper Folding with Victoria from Piccola Crafts. 

With all these sessions, we are encouraging an atmosphere of having a go. Confidence can be a barrier, especially self-confidence, in a location that often houses the world’s best artists and creatives.

In reality, it is not about being talented or good enough. Very few people establish themselves as a master painter without a thousand bad sketches, and you really do not have to be good at something to enjoy it or reap the wellbeing benefits. 

The time has come for us to all acknowledge the powerful contribution getting creative can have on our wellbeing and, in turn, improve the world we live in. 

Our latest partnership with Norfolk and Waveney Mind acknowledges this. We have teamed up with the brilliant team there to host two sessions for the public, both of which are being held this week. 

This series of thought-provoking sessions uses creativity to help us be mindful and kinder to ourselves. They help participants develop their self-compassion toolkit, explore kindness, and learn how to use the tools in their daily lives. 

They are part of our Creative Matters season, Kindness through Creativity, a year-long season to explore how creativity and the arts can inspire change, tell unheard stories, build compassion and create a fairer and kinder society.

Kindness is often seen as what we can do for others. But to truly have a kinder society, we also need to look after ourselves. 

Creativity thrives in a kind environment where people have the freedom to express themselves, learn from experiences, try new things and make genuine connections.

Just like kindness, creativity is a chain reaction that boosts the health of not only the person creating but also the person who looks at the end result, be it a painting or something on stage. 

So, let the people create… that’s what I say! 

Stephen Crocker is the chief executive and Creative Director of Norwich Theatre