As most of the country starts to emerge from shelter-in-place measures, theatres and concert halls in China have already begun to slowly reopen with physical distancing guidelines limiting their operations to 30% patron occupancy. They’re showing the world that there is optimism ahead—and through our strength, resilience, and courage, we can emerge from this crisis with our arts community firmly intact.
Today, we celebrate all those arts organizations around the world that are striving to keep the arts alive in their communities. Whether you’re preparing to open your doors to a modified style of live performance or you’re working hard to stay connected to audiences remotely, you’re a constant and reassuring reminder that we’re in this together—today and tomorrow. Your ability to adapt, to innovate, and to continue making those connections is an inspiration to us all. Thank you.
As we continue to shine a spotlight on a selection of arts organizations who are making great strides in this way, we’d like to reiterate that the theme of now is giving. Just as you’re giving your time, energy, and strength in keeping us connected to the arts, we’d like to give something back to you.
If you’re looking for some advice or a sounding board, please feel free to reach out to any of our consultants. We’re here for you and available to help you think through some of the challenges ahead. We realize these are uncertain times for you, so this advice is our gift to you.
And, in the meantime, if you’re one of our clients and you’re hosting an archive streaming of a show, virtual classes, or doing any other remote community-based services during this time, let us know and we’ll help you promote this work. We’re here for you too, because you continue to make our world a better place.
Shanghai Symphony Orchestra
After several months of being closed, Shanghai Symphony Hall recently re-opened its doors to the public for the first time since China went into lockdown at the end of January (read more about that event here). Even though they’ve emerged from shelter-in-place measures, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra are continuing to use digital technology and remote resources to support their artistic and organizational goals. During lockdown, the orchestra used technology for educational and rehearsal purposes, but that was just the beginning of their online journey. They’re currently developing a new app to improve the ticket-buying experience and are planning to install technology in their concert and recital halls to offer dynamic livestreamed concert experiences to audiences at home. Through technology, they hope to broaden their audience base to include members of the public who they haven’t previously reached, as well as connecting with younger generations of music-lovers who are new to the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s work. The future is just around the corner.
When stay-at-home-orders were announced, Wonderbound‘s artistic team and twelve company dancers set about creating two weekly video collections that speak to the organization’s mission of using dance to deepen humankind’s common bond through uncommon endeavors of discovery and creation. Project Wonder is made up of short, texturally rich, and emotionally driven solo dance films and Dance Along! is a series of light and fun dance tutorials designed for anyone to learn. Over the course of five weeks, Wonderbound produced a remarkable library of over 120 new dance videos for its audience and community. These collections have been distributed to schools across the Denver metro area and are being used in virtual classrooms by teachers across the nation.
The Kimmel Cultural Campus
The Kimmel Cultural Campus has always believed the arts are essential, but now we need the arts more than ever. Describing this pause from live programming as “just an intermission”, they’re offering a series of free digital resources, called The Show Must Go On. Through this virtual hub, they continue to tell the story of what the Cultural Campus stands for and would normally be presenting on their stages—jazz, opera, orchestra, dance, comedy, Broadway, and more. They’re also live-streaming concerts and dance parties, offering interviews with artists and producers, and inviting audiences to create and share their own art (don’t forget to tag it with the hashtag #ArtHappensAtHome!) There really is something for everyone! If you want to join their diverse community for joyful experiences and a sense of togetherness through the arts, check out their website, follow them on social media, and sign up for their Show Must Go On newsletter.
Signature Theatre’s online series, Signature Strong – Live! connects audiences with their favorite Signature performers each week—celebrated guests join to sing a few songs, answer viewer’s questions, and more. Previous events have also included suggested sip-while-you-watch cocktail recipes, backstage stories, performer interviews, and off-the-cuff quizzes. So, set a reminder to tune in on Facebook each Tuesday at 8pm and enjoy! And if seeing their staff and performers doing what they do best leaves you wanting more, you can also sign up for an inexpensive virtual masterclass or private coaching session. The classes cover everything from how to break into the business to live dance sessions and peeks behind the curtain to learn about stagecraft, making the music, and more.
The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
The Fisher Center at Bard College develops, produces, and presents performing arts across disciplines through new productions and context-rich programs that challenge and inspire. As a premier professional performing arts center and a hub for research and education, the Fisher Center supports artists, students, and audiences in the development and examination of artistic ideas. While they’re unable to gather with their community in person, they’ve created UPSTREAMING—an online program that broadens their commitment to reaching audiences far beyond the physical walls of the building. Throughout June and July, UPSTREAMING will release new content, including digital commissions, virtual events, and beloved performances from the archives of the Bard Music Festival’s 30-year history. Archival content released earlier this year—including over 20 performances highlighting different aspects of the breadth of programming the Fisher Center offers—is also available, so it’s worth checking back regularly to keep finding content you’ll love.
While their building is closed, Overture Center continues to bring the arts to audiences at home through a collection of educational resources and entertainment. Their Access The Arts From Home resources include on-demand fun for everyone, including a 90-minute Jerry Awards screening on June 7, which will feature video clips of high school musical theatre performances, student and school awards, and special guests. They’re also featuring online programming from some of their resident organizations (Children’s Theater of Madison, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Forward Theater, Kanopy Dance Company, and the James Watrous Gallery). But that’s not all. They’re also offering parents and caregivers some help in keeping little ones entertained by uploading new songs and regular livestreams from their favorite Kids in the Rotunda performers. There’s also a Storytime series, content for Broadway fans, and tons of resources for artists too!
Overture Center image credit: Martin Jenich Photography