With the spotlight shining a bit dimmer on the grand stage during the pandemic, live event venues are raising awareness by shining a bright light on the outside.
The BlueShore at CapU, Presentation House Theatre and Kay Meek Arts Centre, as well as North Vancouver City Hall, were glowing red Tuesday night to raise awareness of the impact that COVID-19 has had on Canada’s live event industry.
Starting at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 22, hundreds of art museums, theatres, concert halls, convention centres, live venues and government buildings across the country took part in the Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community.
The campaign originated in Germany and the U.K, but Canada’s event was organized by a Toronto-based organization that aimed to showcase the struggles that artists, production personnel and the venues they work at across the country are facing – in some cases, literally forcing them to fade to black.
Presentation House Theatre was among North Shore venues awash in a noticeable red hue Tuesday in an effort to remind the community that Canadian arts institutions and live venues are still here, still trying to do good work despite restrictions, and, in some cases, will need continued support.
“We did this in absolute solidarity and support of our friends across the country,” said Doris Pfister Murphy, theatre spokeswoman. “It’s an initiative to draw attention to the live event’s community across Canada. With COVID, they’re the first ones to lose work and many are going to be the last ones back.”
A pair of talented technicians were responsible for Presentation House Theatre and other North Shore venues’ crimson light shows Tuesday night, an example of the kind of skilled labour on the production side that’s essential to live performance but can be overlooked when venues are shut down, said Murphy.
According to campaign organizer Live Event Community, the purpose of Tuesday’s showcase wasn’t a protest, but a reminder.
While many in the arts and live event community are grateful for provincial and federal supports that have helped keep the stage lights on as the pandemics continues, the campaign aims to remind the community and various levels of government that the fight for survival isn’t over and many venues are still stuck in the darkness.
“How will the arts and events sustain themselves? It’s tricky. Livestreams are a great initiative and extension – but they’re not a replacement," said Murphy.