Stakeholders in the creative sector are happy about the reopening of performance spaces but wonder whether it will be worth their time or even practical to organise shows given social distancing protocols and limits on crowd size.
Performing spaces will begin reopening from today with Queen’s Hall in Port-of-Spain. The Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) and Naparima Bowl will reopen on July 6, while the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) will open its doors on August 3.
President of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) Brother Resistance (Lutalo Masimba) said it would be difficult to organise any entertainment in these spaces with gatherings limited to 25 people.
“That is the performers and the band right there,” he said.
Noting that there is no force to fit the entertainment industry, he added: “There is no curbside’ pick up for the entertainment industry. We are still awaiting some discussion concerning the peculiar nature of the entertainment sector.
Masimba said although calls have been made for Government, to appoint an inter-ministerial team to focus specifically on the entertainment and creative sectors in this COVID-19 era, no response has been forthcoming.
“We still awaiting a discussion with the recovery team, or whoever it may be, in terms of mapping a positive and practical way forward,” he said.
“Of all the sectors, the creative sector has been reduced to ground zero and there continues to be no meaningful discussion where it is concerned and that is distressing because we do contribute to the GDP of this nation,.”
Actress and director Penelope Spencer said with the limited amount of people allowed in a theatre, she does not know if producers would get their just deserves or if it would be worth their time.
Spencer and fellow actress Cecilia Salazar are continuing the virtual theatre they launched on June 5— PC Comedy—free live theatrical plays presented on Facebook via the OMG Digital Magazine platform.
Filmmaker Danielle Dieffenthaller believes it is a big risk to stage a show at half capacity.
“Maybe open-air venues with a two-hander with low overheads might work. Otherwise, we have to adapt the way theatre is consumed until we have a proper handle on the situation,” she suggested.
Singer and musical director John Michael Thomas posted on his Facebook page yesterday: “Choral tradition has been a major part of my life. Singing in choirs from seven-years-old to directing choirs from as early as 16-years-old. To now live in a world where just the idea of this not being possible for a while—maybe two years is simply unfathomable to me.
“Making music together, music that literally comes from within you, in the very same space, learning together, growing together, to me, no other experience can compare!”
Thomas, founder of the Eastern Youth Chorale (EYC), noting his colleagues’ sentiments on the reopening of performing spaces, said: “It is worth a try. The only way to know is to try. We have to. We are dying inside…money is not everything important.
“Honestly, most of us, if not all, do not do it for that, it already isn’t practical. To put a quality product out there much has to be spent.”