By Cate McKim (check out Cate’s site, Life With More Cowbell)
It’s been heartbreaking to see all the cancellations of live theatre performances—not to mention devastating for theatre companies, festivals and artists—with seasons being cut short or delayed indefinitely, and productions and festivals cancelled during the COVID-19 crisis. But there are still ways you can support companies and artists, and stay connected with theatre while we wait for the doors to open again.
Theatre artists and companies are going online, and even on the phone, to deliver livestream readings, live performances and filmed productions to a device near you! And there are also a number of resources you can tap into for up-to-date info and connection with theatre—and ways to support companies, festivals and artists.
Canadian Opera Company #OperaAtHome posts a clip every day at 11:00 a.m. on Twitter https://twitter.com/CanadianOpera
Convergence Theatre’s (http://www.convergencetheatre.com/) over-the-phone presentation The Corona Variations http://www.convergencetheatre.com/corona-variations has new dates coming up in May
Outside the March’s production of Rosamund Small’s Vitals is up on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/102824358
They’re also presenting an interactive theatre experience, over the phone, The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries https://outsidethemarch.ca/the-ministry-of-mundane-mysteries-an-faq/?preview=true
The Social Distancing Festival (https://www.socialdistancingfestival.com/), launched by Canadian actor/playwright Nick Green, is an online artist’s community that showcases talent from around the world, and connects the work with audiences through livestream performances and social posts.
Soulpepper presents Fresh Ink, livestream script readings, on their website: next one is on Fri, May 1 at 4:00 p.m., featuring works by Beverley Cooper, Judith Thompson and Carole Fréchette. https://www.soulpepper.ca/online/live-events
Spontaneous Theatre Canada (https://www.spontaneoustheatre.ca/) has been presenting Blind Date livestream performances on YouTube on Friday nights at 10:00 p.m. EST (with Rebecca Northan as Mimi and a featured guest actor date every week) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpJc-n4bx1XWHCqBXBbl01w (you can also catch up on previous Mimi dates). On Fri, May 1, Mimi will be joined by actor/improviser/comedian Andrew Phung (who many of you will know as Kimchee on Kim’s Convenience).
Stratford Festival presents streaming performances with StratFest@Home https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/AtHome
Also: Follow theatre companies, festivals and artists on social media, and visit their websites to get news/updates on one-time only livestream readings/events.
PlayME by Expect Theatre: Listen to radio drama-style podcasts of Canadian plays http://www.playmepodcast.com/
Stageworthy podcast: Host Phil Rickaby interviews folks in and about theatre https://stageworthypodcast.com/
Follow Toronto theatre producer and corporate/entertainment lawyer Derrick Chua (aka the King of Toronto Fringe) on Twitter; Derrick is in the know and a great resource for what’s happening in the arts all over: https://twitter.com/d_chua
Recently launched, GhostLight Canada (https://www.ghostlight.ca/) provides an online platform for theatrical mentorship, collaboration and experimentation, as well as audience/artist connection through their Friday Night at the GhostLight conversations on YouTube (first one, Margaret Atwood in conversation with Adrienne Clarkson, is May 8 at 8:00 p.m.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dajResBwffY
Hye’s Musings https://www.facebook.com/HyeMusings/
Intermission Magazine https://www.intermissionmagazine.ca/
Globe & Mail theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck’s theatre newsletter https://www.theglobeandmail.com/newsletters/?utm_source=Globe%20Life&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_campaign=2020-4-21_16&utm_content=GlobeLife&utm_term=newsletter_signup#newsletter-group-5
Toronto Theatre Zone Facebook group for theatre folks https://www.facebook.com/groups/TorontoTheatreZone/
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Consider making a donation to The AFC, which provides emergency financial aid to support the health and well-being of Canada’s entertainment professionals: https://afchelps.ca/
The good folks at CBC Arts posted this great list of supports for Canadian artists/freelancers, which arts supporters can check out and donate to: https://www.cbc.ca/arts/here-s-where-canadian-artists-and-freelancers-can-find-help-during-covid-19-shutdowns-1.5503360
Have tickets to a show that’s been cancelled? Instead of requesting a refund, consider donating the price of that ticket back to the theatre.
Donate to local theatre companies and festivals.
Support theatre companies, festivals and artists by following them on social media, and broadcast boosting their online performances over your social media accounts—and telling your friends!
Cate McKim is a multidisciplinary storyteller, an accidental freelance copy editor/proofreader, and an arts/culture lover and supporter. Her blog life with more cowbell (https://lifewithmorecowbell.com/)—once featuring reviews and interviews of and about Toronto’s arts scene, with a focus on theatre—is gradually returning after an extended hiatus, in an ongoing, emerging new direction.