• While many parts of our economy cautiously begin to reopen, the performing arts remain largely dark - amongst the first to close and will be the last to re-open.
• The impact to date in Toronto is 25,000 cancelled or postponed public performances; $500 million lost ticket sales; 20 million lost audience members.
• I Miss Live Theatre TO — #iMissLiveTheatreTO — is a campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the cultural sector under COVID-19.
If the COVID-19 pandemic had not pressed pause on human activities six months ago, this would have been the week in which Toronto’s illustrious and vibrant theatre, dance and opera companies would have collectively launched the 2020-21 live performance season. And what a season it would have been: hundreds of plays, musicals, dances and operas playing to millions of audience members. Today the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) is launching a public awareness campaign to celebrate what would have been and to honour the loyal and resilient Toronto audience that has made the city’s performing arts community among the largest in North America.
I Miss Live Theatre TO — #iMissLiveTheatreTO — will run September 21 to 27. This online campaign encourages audience members to declare their love of the city’s performing arts by sharing some of their favourite Toronto theatre moments of the past. We may not yet be able to gather to watch a live performance as we have done in other seasons, but we can at least publicly acknowledge our love of live theatre.
"While many parts of our economy have cautiously begun to reopen, the performing arts are still in the dark,” says Chris Goddard, board president of PAIS (Performing Arts Information Services). “We were amongst the first to close and will be the last to re-open. The impact to date of the COVID-19 pandemic in the theatre, dance and opera sector for the TAPA membership is projected to be $500 million lost ticket sales, and 20 million lost audience members. These numbers are staggering."
Régine Cadet, board president of TAPA, adds: "We are working together with numerous affiliate organization and every day I Miss Live Theatre TO will spotlight a different organization to help build public awareness. We are proud to announce I Miss Live Theatre TO affliates include: Playwrights Guild of Canada, Toronto Musicians Association, ACTRA, EQUITY, IATSE, Associated Designers of Canada, Destination Toronto, WorkInCulture and AFC. We also wish to thank The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star for their tremendous promotional support of this campaign.
"Everyone has unforgettable live performing arts experiences. It is our hope that by recalling these magical moments I Miss Live Theatre TO will evoke joy, inspiration, hope and excitement for the triumphant return of the performing arts in our city. Make no mistake, our theatres will be reignited again, and with your help we will return with renewed innovation, inclusion, equity, and accessibility for all. We invite you all to share your favourite Toronto theatre moment on your social media platforms using the hashtag #I Miss Live Theatre TO.”
TAPA executive director Jacoba Knaapen says: "As new programming and initiatives roll out in the future, please engage, enjoy and support your local theatre, dance and opera artist and companies. We look forward to seeing you again as soon as it is safe to come back. Until then, please don’t forget our artsworkers — actors, singers, musicians, dancers, playwrights, directors, creators, dramaturges, administrators, stage managers, technicians, ushers, box office workers, designers, videographers, choreographers, and so many more. We are still here!"
For more information, and to find out how you can participate please visit: https://tapa.ca/imisslivetheatreto-2/
Watch the campaign launch video on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNBwkXxcKeNHfZC9-rceAYg
How audiences can participate:
- Everyone has unforgettable live performing arts experiences. Recalling these magical moments will evoke joy and generate hope and excitement for the triumphant return of the performing arts.
- Use a cellphone to record a video of MY FAVOURITE TORONTO THEATRE MOMENT to share to any social media platform with the hashtag #iMissLiveTheatreTO.
- Begin your recording with the word “When…” and then recall a favourite show, a specific moment in a show (such as a performance or design element — anything that stood out for you), or a specific tradition surrounding going to the theatre (e.g. the moment when the lights go down). Make sure the message captures the feeling that the moment brought you.
Print a poster! If you don’t want to do a video we are asking folks to show solidarity with the arts by printing a poster.
Download and Print the poster #iMissLiveTheatreTO to publicly display in your windows or doorways: