Red Deer’s Memorial Centre was bathed in red light on Tuesday night to raise awareness of the plight of the performing arts industry during the pandemic. Most stages are empty as revenue-strapped companies have had to cancel theatrical shows and concerts because of crowd size restrictions. (Contributed photo).

Red Deer’s Memorial Centre reflects red light to draw attention pandemic plight of performing arts

Many theatrical shows and concerts have been cancelled

Red Deer’s Memorial Centre was flooded by red light on Tuesday night as part of a nationwide movement to draw attention to the impact of the pandemic on the arts community.

COVID-19 has dealt a devastating blow to Central Alberta Theatre, which operates the Memorial Centre.

Operations manager Darrel Dixon said much uncertainty remains around the upcoming theatre season and whether the stage can be rented to other groups.

“We do not want to irresponsibly open our doors and fill our seats immediately. We do, however, want to raise awareness of our industry, since it has not received as much coverage as …. sports, restaurants, hair salons, etc.”

He added that large venues were among the first to close and will be among the last to open.

“With current restrictions of 100 people in a live venue, it is not economically feasible for groups to tour, dance studios to have recitals, schools to have their plays, comedians to entertain.”

Since “there is no set date for return,” the industry wants continued government support for live event workers and for the many companies that support and supply the performing arts industry.

According to Statistics Canada, the arts, entertainment and recreation sector lost 152,000 of 486,100 jobs between June 2019 and June 2020.

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