COVID is coming back to theaters

COVID continues to make life difficult for performers in the entertainment industry. Producers, staff, artists and viewers have to deal with a new summer wave that, like the previous ones, causes many headaches.

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Photo archive, agency QMI


In Montreal several dates of the musical Anne, presented at the Théâtre Saint-Denis, had to be postponed due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Five performances of the play in Terrebonne symphoric suffered the same fate. In Quebec, the musical rock of times, which played at the Capitol, was canceled on two consecutive nights, July 14 and 15, due to COVID cases. Luckily, a substitute who was already on the squad was able to play two characters.

“Many practices have changed with the pandemic and will continue to do so,” explains Sébastien Côté, Senior Director of Management and Shows at Quebecor Sports and Entertainment. We had a COVID specialist on the tour revolution who ensured compliance with the measures on set. With the lifting of the measures, this has become more complicated. »

rock of times

Photo archive, agency QMI

rock of times

The actors and technical team of rock of times have also started wearing masks again, and post-show meetings with fans no longer take place.

financial losses

“The biggest financial loss is all the unsold tickets,” Mr. Côté continues. Part of the tickets was not sold because with every new wave there is fear of the spectators. »

Likewise for the production of the musical Annethe postponement and cancellation of performances meant headaches and financial losses.

“We had a summer schedule and set dates,” explains producer Émilie Rochon. Getting everything back on track and getting everything back on track was a colossal job. As soon as we returned, we started to reintroduce the hygiene measures: the mask in public, the distance from spectators, hand washing, we updated the instructions. »

At the Gilles-Vigneault theater in Saint-Jérôme, the Sainte-Marie-de-la-Mauderne play team has not yet had to deal with COVID cases that would have forced shows to be postponed. This prevents quite a few concerned spectators from asking for reimbursement every evening – even if disinfectant gel and masks are provided at the entrance to the event hall.

“We are still facing the same challenges as at the beginning of the pandemic, but we must add the physical and psychological fatigue of the teams on site,” explains David Laferrière, general manager of the establishment and chairman of the board of directors of the professional association of show presenters (RIDEAU). . The teams reduced because of the holidays weaken the remaining teams. We have work problems due to COVID related challenges and exhaustion of arts related jobs. »

“There’s about 15% to 20% of the audience wearing the mask,” adds Mr. Laferrière. It is the responsibility of each artist to take the measurements. Some productions have hired doubles just in case, which is not the case with us. Nevertheless, we walk on wire, even if we follow the rules to the letter. »

The Gilles-Vigneault Theater has lost $2 million in ticket refunds since the pandemic began.

collateral damage

COVID also causes collateral damage. The event hall staff, struggling with significant aggression from customers, leave the event hall for various reasons: fatigue, significant physical and mental exhaustion, coronavirus, professional reorientation and often early retirement.

The show premiered on July 20 at the Cogeco Amphitheater in Trois-Rivières Long live our divas! is the 6the Part of the Cirque du Soleil tribute series. No performance has been canceled at the moment, and the representative of Cirque du Soleil claims to constantly monitor the development of the situation in all the markets he visits.

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