The show must go on for Edmonton’s arts community amid COVID-19 pandemic

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WATCH ABOVE: Amid job losses and having to postpone shows, Edmonton's Citadel Theatre is using creativity and social media to continue entertaining the masses. – Apr 12, 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in thousands of jobs losses all across the country, many industries have been forced to find different ways to conduct business just to stay afloat. Among them is Edmonton’s arts community, which has taken its creativity to a whole new level.

“We had to cancel or postpone some of the shows that we had planned in the spring,” Daryl Cloran, artistic director with the Citadel Theatre said.

“[We] were going to do the Garneau Block... that got all the way to dress rehearsal and we had to stop there. We had started dress rehearsal for Peter Pan Goes Wrong and we had to stop that,” Cloran said.

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And the list of cancelled shows doesn’t stop there, resulting in some tough decisions.

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“It’s been a bit of a heart breaking challenge in many ways, ultimately the Citadel will survive this, we’re long standing, we will live to produce theatre again — but it was challenging to say goodbye to so many of our staff,” Chantell Ghosh, executive director with the Citadel said.

But for the Citadel, the show must go on.

“We started an online series called the Stuck in the House Series and it’s been great, we’ve been doing it for a few weeks now,” Cloran said.

“Every day we put a video by an Edmonton artist up on our Facebook [page], and its been a really nice way to keep the art alive.”

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In just a few weeks the series has had more than 67,000 views. A growing way to entertain the masses online while also supporting performers.

“We’re able to pay them with an honorarium, thanks to a partnership we have with the Edmonton Community Foundation and then we’re taking donations online as well for people to donate and that goes straight to the artists,” Cloran said.

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The support from theatre lovers hasn’t stopped there there.

“We’re really really lucky in that our patrons are supportive of theatre — they may have had tickets to a specific show we are no longer able to offer — and they are either doing a tax deductible donation [or] they’re saying, ‘Give me a credit because I’m going to find something I love to come to, and when you’re back I’ll be back,'” Ghosh said.

A positive response for an industry that isn’t easily adaptable.

“It’s not like a restaurant where you say, ‘Oh the ban is lifted… we’re opening up in a few days and bring back our staff.’
We need a little more ramp-up time, but we’ve built out those plans so we know that the minute the trigger is pulled we’re like, ‘Okay, here we go,'” Ghosh said.

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