This post was written by Tyler McDonald (edited by Ms. Cruickshank). Tyler is an SSS Drama member and Grade 12 student:
In a year where the future is foggy, the world seems uncertain, and people are struggling; it is our friends and colleagues in the theatre industry that continue to be a beacon of hope throughout these unprecedented times. This industry has been hit hard, arguably, one of the hardest hit industries in Canada. Theatres were the first to close, technicians, actors, directors and playwrights were the first to lose their work, and stages have “remained dark” since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The doors have remained closed, and as an industry we are “standing by”, unsure when we will be back to creating what we love most in the world. Similar to the theatre closures during the Black Plague in Elizabethan England in 1593, we were the first to close, and we’ll be the last to re-open.
However, our hope remains in a single question: when? We don’t ask ourselves if theatres will open back up, we ask ourselves when? There is a finite amount of time before we will be back in rehearsal halls, on stages, in booths, waiting in the wings, anxiously anticipating that first cue.
You may have seen some of the #LightUpLive events on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. This was a night of visibility to light up live event performance venues across the country with red light to remember the thousands of artists, technicians, crews, producers, directors, stage managers, suppliers and venues that are currently out of work and “standing by”. As their website states, “The effect of shutting down a $100 billion industry in Canada will have unimaginable impacts on both companies and individuals. Already, the vast majority of live event workers have been out of work or on government support since March, with no end in sight. The arts, entertainment and recreation sector lost 152, 000 of 486, 100 jobs between June 2019 and June 2020” (lightuplive.ca/about).
If you missed out, you can still contribute by sending your selfie to: lightuplive.ca and follow on social media.
While our industry is ravaged and knocked down, we are here, waiting and ready. We must look at the COVID-19 Pandemic as an intermission, and we must hold onto the hope that we will be back to creating live events that evoke empathy and allow free expression that our world needs. We will be back calling cues, setting levels, focusing lights, warming up and cooling down. We will be back doing quick changes, set changes, mic changes and band changes. We will be back hoping to make you laugh, cry, sing along or dance once more.
Take a moment out of your day, think about all of the live event workers who have impacted you, without ever knowing their names or seeing their faces. Consider these live event technicians, artists and crews, who willingly give long days, and even longer nights; those who miss time away from their loved ones, and countless holidays, all so that by the time you walk through the door to have your ticket checked you can simply sit back and enjoy the show.
This is a moment in time. An intermission. The show will go on. It must.