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The Show Must Go On – virtually


The Adelaide Festival Centre has launched an online hub to showcase the innovative digital works being shared by SA performing arts companies that usually use its theatres, as well as free performances and workshops being presented by the centre.

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COVID-19 restrictions forced the Festival Centre to close to the public on March 17, with the postponement or cancellation of more than 45 upcoming shows and events including the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the Adelaide Guitar Festival.

As reported by InDaily last week, around 200 of the centre’s regular casual staff have been without work since the closure, while full-time and part-time employees are on a reduced working week as the centre deals with the COVID-19 shutdown.

AFC CEO and artistic director Douglas Gautier said today that the AFC recognised the power of the arts “to not only entertain but also to provide comfort and connection, especially during these challenging times”.

“This is why the show must go on, and we’ve created an online platform to support local arts organisations during this time and help bring entertainment directly to people’s homes.”

The Show Must Go On highlights and provides links to a range of online works and projects being presented by what the centre describes as its home companies.

They include Australian Dance Theatre’s ADAPT season, State Theatre Company of SA’s Stay in with State, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Virtual Concert Hall, Adelaide Festival’s 2020 Festival Forums and Windmill Theatre’s Windmill at Home – which encompass streamed performances, talks, workshops, podcasts and a range of other activities.

Visitors to The Show Must Go On can also view a recent performance by classical guitarists Slava and Sharon Grigoryan in the empty Festival Theatre, and Adelaide jazz musicians celebrating UNESCO’s International Jazz Day last week.

The AFC has launched a new Something at Home on Saturday initiative – an adaptation of its long-running children’s arts program, including hands-on activities – and will present a series of online workshops and performances for school students through its learning program centrED.

More than 300 South Australian students across 22 schools have registered for the centreED events, which include choreography with local artist Erin Fowler and Latin music with Cuban-Australian trumpeter Lazaro Numa.

“It is clear there is a need for arts education at this time, with excursions to the theatre and in-school workshops not being an option,” says education co-ordinator Ruth Weldon.

Help for struggling artists

As artists and arts workers around Australia experience hardship as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown, it was announced yesterday that a group of arts and culture philanthropists have come together to provide a $1.5 million support program.

The National Assistance Program for the Arts will distribute one-off grants of $1000 each “on the basis of need, experience, and talent”, with applications closing at midnight AEST this Sunday, May 10.

Adelaide Fringe also announced this week that it has partnered with the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation to award grants worth a total of $50,000 to South Australian artists affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Applications (details here) also close at midnight on May 10 for these 30 “quick response” grants, which will range from $1500 to $2000 and be awarded to artists to help them create work and connect with audiences in new and different ways.

Adelaide Fringe director and CEO Heather Croall paid tribute to the “generous support” of the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation (which is also one of the philanthropic organisations participating in the National Assistance Program for the Arts).

“While COVID-19 has significantly impacted all of us, the arts community has been dealt a devastating blow with the postponement and cancellation of tours and performances, and other opportunities,” Croall says.

“We want to help artists who have been directly impacted by the pandemic. We hope these grants can provide some relief to artists and help them to continue creating their work.”

Meanwhile, the Art Gallery of SA has relaunched its South Australian Artists Fund and is offering $10,000 “artist bursaries” to SA visual artists, collectives and art centres that are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for these grants will close on May 18 (details here).

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