Arts Club Theatre makes difficult decision to cancel the rest of its season, as social distancing measures continue to hit performing arts

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      The Arts Club Theatre has had to cancel the rest of its 2019-20 season, which would have run through August with shows like carried away on the crest of a wave, Every Brilliant Thing, ‘da Kink in my Hair, Kinky Boots, and Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

      The decision was made in part because of the B.C. government announcement last week that gatherings of over 50 people are not possible for the foreseeable future.

      “Our casts and artists have already put so much talent and hard work into each production, and we remain committed to staging them with the same teams in the future,” artistic director Ashlie Corcoran said in the announcement today. “We’re striving to make choices that ensure the safety of our patrons, artists, and theatre community, which involves having many discussions with our staff, collaborators, and co-producers to reimagine how we can continue to engage with our audiences in a meaningful way.”

      As for the 2020–21 season, Western Canada's largest theatre company also says it is rethinking the full lineup announced in February with social-distancing in mind. It's now looking at ways to reduce the programming to see if it could be staged in accordance with B.C. Ministry of Health guidelines.

      The performing arts have been particularly hard-hit by distancing measures.

      On May 6, B.C. announced there will be no live audience professional sports, international tourism, gatherings of more than 50 people (except in big stores), conventions, or large concerts until either a COVID-19 vaccine is found, broad treatment is available, or herd immunity is developed.

      Museums and galleries have fared better than the performing arts, mentioned by the province along with libraries, restaurants, cafes, and pubs as places that will be able to open first, with social-distancing measures in place.

      "Performing arts is clearly the sector where it is the most complicated—just being in a closed space," Canada Council chair Simon Brault told the Straight last week. "And when we try to imagine different configurations, most of the time the business model doesn’t work. I think maybe that doesn’t apply outdoors; what we see all over the world is that maybe outdoor performances could be easier to organize. But indoor performances are complicated."