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Sydney Theatre and COVID-19: The Latest

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The rapidly evolving response to COVID-19 will have a profound effect on Sydney's theatre and live performance industry. Latest developments and announcements here.

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THEATRE and COVID-19: The Latest

Date: 14 Mar 2020
WEDNESDAY MAY 27: 4.30pm

Bangarra Dance Theatre has postponed its tour of SandSong until 2021, a production that was scheduled to play in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Bendigo between June and September this year.

In a joint statement, Bangarra’s Stephen Page, Frances Rings and Lissa Twomey write: “Lately, it feels as if things are gradually returning to normal, as workplaces, cafés, and even some small venues reopen across the country. While it’s reassuring to see restrictions easing, it’s clear that given guidelines around mass gatherings, it will be a while yet until we’re able to share our stories with you onstage … This work will continue to develop in the minds of our dancers and creative team until we are able to bring this work to the stage.”

MONDAY MAY 25: 12:00am

Sydney Fringe Festival is cancelled for 2020.

“The current climate makes it impossible to secure new income streams in time and we simply refuse to pass any additional costs on to our artists,” wrote SFF CEO Kerri Glasscock in a statement.

“When we last spoke the pandemic had just started and September seemed so far away, we were committed to leading the recovery of our city through our annual arts festival. Since then, we have seen unprecedented change, an upheaval unparalleled in most of our living memories. The decimation this crisis has caused our community of cultural workers, facilitators, venues and makers is devastating and Sydney Fringe has not avoided this destruction. Presenting our annual arts festival in September has become an impossible dream. With the Sydney Fringe Board, we have spent the past few weeks fighting for this dream but drastically reduced partnership income, reduced revenue streams, and looming timelines that require certainty have made it impossible to proceed with our 2020 festival.”

An on-line festival will go ahead, however, featuring some of the best fringe works from partner festivals including Stockholm Fringe and the Nordic Fringe Network, Brighton Fringe, NZ Fringe, San Diego and Hollywood Fringe.”

TUESDAY APRIL 21: 1.30pm

Bell Shakespeare has cancelled its upcoming national tour of The Comedy of Errors.

It will be a considerable blow to those picked to tour with the production. The show was slated to open in Orange in July and play venues nationwide, concluding with performances at the Sydney Opera House in October.

TUESDAY MARCH 31: 2.30pm

Australia Council announces new Resilience Fund and re-opens Arts and Disability Mentorships

The Australia Council has today announced a Resilience Fund of approximately $5M for artists and arts organisations to support their livelihoods, practice and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEO Adrian Collette AM said this new measure within the Council’s existing budget is essential during this critical period when the cultural and creative sectors are experiencing immediate and enormous challenges due to the impact of the virus.

“Last week the Australia Council suspended many investment programs and repurposed all available uncommitted funds from this financial year to immediately respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The Resilience Fund has been created to provide immediate relief to Australian artists, arts workers and arts organisations and support their livelihoods, practice and operations. We have redirected approximately $5M across three new programs: Survive, Adapt, Create.

In the last week we have also reviewed all our suspended programs. We are pleased to re-open applications for the Arts and Disability Mentoring Initiative and have extended the deadline for applications to midnight AEST, Tuesday 14 April. This is a significant priority area for the Council.”

The 2020 Resilience Fund includes three streams: 

Survive – small grants for individuals, groups and organisations to offset or recoup financial losses due to cancelled activity.

Adapt – grants for individuals, groups and organisations to adapt their practice and explore new operating models.

Create – grants for individuals, groups and organisations to continue to create artistic work and develop creative responses in a time of disruption.

Organisations that currently receive multi-year funding from the Australia Council are not eligible to apply. This includes National Performing Arts Partnership organisations, Four Year Funded organisations, and organisations funded under the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy.

TUESDAY MARCH 31: 11.30am

In what has the ring of inevitability about it, Live Performance Australia has cancelled the 2020 Helpmann Awards.

In a release, LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson writes:

“Due to restrictions on public gatherings, it was simply not feasible to proceed with our planning for the 2020 Helpmann Awards. While we are deeply disappointed to make this decision, we have a wider responsibility to prioritise the health and welfare of our staff, industry and the Australian community to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It is also the case that we need to focus on the survival of our live performance industry which has been devastated by the COVID-19 forced shutdowns.

“Our number one priority right now is to secure more government support for the hundreds of thousands of people across our industry who have lost income and work as a result of the shutdowns. We also want to make sure our industry is in the best position it can be to recover once the public health crisis passes, and bring back to millions of Australians the pleasure of live theatre and music presented by some of the world’s best creative talent.”

MONDAY MARCH 30: 1pm

The City of Sydney Council will tonight consider a plan to significantly expand the City’s relief to businesses and community impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lord Mayor said the $47.5 million package significantly expands on measures announced last week, bringing the City’s relief for businesses, cultural and creative industries and the community support sector to $72.5 million.

“Our community faces a very serious public health crisis, and the City of Sydney continues to work with NSW Health to ensure we respond urgently and effectively, including through implementing physical distancing measures,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It’s important that we practise physical distancing, but sadly, the measures that save lives also hurt the livelihoods of many in our community. Those who work in our creative, arts and entertainment industries are facing months of cancelled events, lost income and uncertainty.

“We know the City of Sydney is the heart of the state’s cultural sector, and we know that sector is really hurting. Facilities are closing, and opportunities to work are rapidly diminishing. This has been a terrific shock to everyone who works in this space – from artists, actors and musicians to producers, technicians and back stage staff.

“What we’re trying to do is support them through this period of survival, to continue creative development and make sure they’re ready for the renaissance when we’re able to move past the coronavirus.

“We stand together with those who bring us so much inspiration, and who help us reflect on and understand the world we live in – especially during this crisis.”

The package includes three new funding initiatives to support cultural and creative organisations:

The Cultural Sector Resilience Grant Program, valued at $2.25 million, will provide immediate financial support to the not-for-profit and sole traders who are often reliant on individual grant rounds and project based funds to maintain their minimal staff and to pay their artists. Institutions can apply for funds, including to curate creative development programs with groups of artists.

The Sector-Led Crisis Support Fund, valued at $250,000, will provide direct donations to existing, locally operated, online platforms Support Act NSW, the Artists Benevolent Fund and the Actors Benevolent Fund, who are raising funds to provide emergency relief and mental health support to local cultural workers in crisis.

The Creative Fellowships Fund, valued at $1 million, will support artists to engage in creative development of works and initiatives driven by the cultural sector, and to purchase materials and equipment. The works can be presented during or after the crisis has passed.

THURSDAY MARCH 26: 5pm

As the length and depth of the Corona virus crisis becomes more apparent, New Theatre has cancelled all performances, rehearsals and auditions at New Theatre for the foreseeable future. 

“This decision will immediately impact our programmed productions of Neighbourhood WatchAnimal Farm, and Glengarry Glen Ross, as well as the staged reading of The Removalists.  The planned announcement of the second half of our 2020 Season is also now on hold.”

Belvoir, meanwhile, is rescheduling A Room of One’s Own for “later this year” and postponing “indefinitely” its programmed productions Escaped Alone and The Jungle and the Sea.

MONDAY MARCH 23: 2pm

Pinchgut Opera has cancelled it Splendour of Venice concerts, slated for performance in the Grand Hall of Sydney University on April 26.

The company’s Artistic Director Erin Helyard has returned to Sydney from Portland, Oregon, after rehearsals and performances of Bajazet at Portland Opera were cancelled.

“The ban on public events is going to be a challenge as we adjust plans to get through the year,” writes company GM Cressida Griffith. “In the coming weeks we will be working on creative ways to maintain engagement between our audiences and artists who work with us. These next few months all performing arts companies will need the support of their communities the most. Please consider donating your purchased ticket to any company who is being forced to cancel performances.”

WEDNESDAY MARCH 18: 4.45pm

ATYP’s excellent Cusp, staged at Griffin Theatre, is the latest show to have its final curtain.

“Even with reduced capacity at the Stables Theatre, it’s hard for an audience to maintain the recommended 1.5 metre distance from one another. It’s important we play our role in encouraging social distancing and #FlatteningTheCurve,” reads ATYP’s release. “

“Although we are very disappointed we won’t be able to share this beautiful production with more people, we are pleased to say a filmed version will be available online in the coming weeks.”

Griffin has closed its doors from today, which means the cancellation of remaining performances of Batch Festival 2020, and our upcoming season of Matthew Whittet’s Kindness.

Darlinghurst Theatre Company has succumbed, also, postponing the season of the hotly anticipated A Chorus Line.

“We are immensely proud of our A Chorus Line company,” reads the release. “They have poured their blood, sweat and tears into this fantastic show. Anyone lucky enough to have experienced one of our preview performances knows that this special production deserves to have it’s time in the spotlight.”

Like many others, Darlinghurst is requesting ticket buyers consider their purchase a donation to the company.

“As a small not-for-profit theatre company, operating on only 4% funding, processing mass refunds will be financially devastating for us. With ticket sales at the very heart of our survival we need your help urgently to ensure we don’t see the curtain falling on our stage permanently. We’re asking you to donate the cost of your ticket in lieu of a refund.”

The Illawarra Performing Arts Centre has also closed its doors, effective immediately.

It’s very dark out there, folks.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 18: 11am

The ban on “non-essential” gatherings of more than 100 people will likely impact the planned opening of Darlinghurst Theatre’s A Chorus Line tomorrow evening. We await official confirmation.

Meanwhile, the Hayes Theatre’s planned season of Merrily We Roll Along has been postponed until 2021.

From Luckiest Productions:

“This was a hugely difficult decision to make. The decision comes with significant financial, personal and professional cost to everyone associated with the production.

“Merrily We Roll Along is an independent, fully-waged production and we cannot in good conscience proceed in light of the considerable uncertainties relating to the spread of COVID-19. Luckiest Productions and Hayes Theatre Co would like to sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this causes.”

We’re also awaiting an official notice regarding 9-5 the Musical, slated for the Lyric Theatre.

We’ve just learned it’s curtains for all productions at Kings Cross Theatre.

KXT/bAKEHOUSE’s Suzanne Millar writes: “We’ve held the doors open as long as we could, but the latest public health updates mean that it is now no longer possible to run shows. Over the past weeks we’re confident we’ve taken all precautions, and that both artists and audience have visited a safe venue.”

Immediately affected are: EverybodyBite Productions’ TWO20SOMETHINGS Decide Never To Be Stressed About Anything Ever Again. Ever by Michael Costi, and the Ratchcatch premiere of The Linden Solution by Alex Lee-Rekers.

All productions have been cancelled at Riverside Theatres, which immediately impacts Monty Python’s Spamalot, scheduled for March 19-21, and the Griffin Theatre production of Family Values (March 18-21).

Xavier Coy’s play Distortion is now closing on Friday and will be the last at the Old 505 Theatre until further notice.

TUESDAY MARCH 17: 4.30pm

The Seymour Centre goes dark. As of today, all operations at the Seymour Centre are suspended until further notice.

A number of productions are postponed. Visit this link for the complete list.

Meanwhile, on the North Shore, the Ensemble Theatre has cancelled all remaining performances of David Williamson’s Crunch Time.

The Old 505’s upcoming production of Tideline, presented by Sydney indie company Theatre Excentrique, is also cancelled, as is Flight Path Theatre’s Fitson and Dan.

TUESDAY MARCH 17: 2:30pm

“Onwards” is the sign-off from Belvoir’s Eamon Flack and Sue Donnelly, but the message is an all-stop.

Dance Nation, due to open tomorrow night, is cancelled. 

“This morning we made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel all remaining performances of Dance Nation,” write Flack and Donnelly. “Although our venue’s capacity is less than 500, we are being cautious and following the government’s directive to restrict public gatherings. The health and safety of our audience, staff and actors is always our first priority.

“These are difficult and extraordinary times. The financial impact of closing our theatre is unparalleled. We are one of hundreds of theatres across the country that will go dark this month. The future of the performing arts in Australia is more uncertain than it has ever been, and we stand in solidarity with all our fellow companies, big and small, and with the huge workforce of freelance artists and casual workers who are the lifeblood of our industry.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding in this very troubling time. At the other end of it all, when the social distancing is no longer necessary, we will throw our doors open to you all again and we look forward to that day.”

The cancellation also extends to the 25A season of Girl Friend in the Downstairs Theatre.

Darlinghurst Theatre Company has confirmed that Thursday’s opening of A Chorus Line will go ahead as scheduled, but, as we’ve seen, things change very quickly.

TUESDAY MARCH 17: 12:30pm

The Sydney Opera House has announced the cancellation of all public performances, commencing today until 29 March inclusive, at which point the Opera House will reevaluate based on the latest health advice and developments in the evolving COVID-19 situation.

This decision cancels all remaining dates for Bell Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Playhouse, despite that theatre’s capacity being less than the current 500-person limit.

At this stage, public areas of the site including precinct food and beverage outlets, tours and retail will continue to operate.

Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron writes: “In difficult times, people look to the arts for inspiration and strength. We will be focusing our programming efforts on how we can continue to inspire and uplift our audiences through digital and other means while our physical stages are not in use.”

TUESDAY MARCH 17: 9am

With so little to laugh about right now, it’s saddening to report that Sydney Theatre Company has announced the cancellation of its critically acclaimed No Pay? No Way!, which was scheduled to play at the Sydney Opera House until March 28 before transferring to Riverside Theatres.

Then again, how long could a play that celebrates the looting of supermarkets last in these conditions?

“Our first priority is and always will be the health and wellbeing of our patrons, our employees, and the community at large,” write Kip Williams, Artistic Director, and Patrick McIntyre, STC Executive Director.

“In this challenging time, all of us at STC are concerned for the wellbeing and long term viability of Australia’s vibrant and internationally recognised arts community. We are especially mindful of the plight of small organisations and freelance practitioners who do not have access to resources or contingency plans.

“We greatly appreciate your understanding during this difficult period, and thank you for the support so many of you have already shown us and fellow theatre makers. We are very grateful to our patrons who have chosen to donate refunds on their cancelled tickets back to us, as tax-deductible contributions – generosity like this will be essential to mitigate the impact of this unprecedented global event.

“These are uncertain times. One thing we can be sure of, however, is that theatre is a necessary and vital space where communities are built, nurtured and maintained. Its importance will only continue to grow as we look to the future. Rest assured that we will be back and producing shows as soon as it is safe and advisable to do so.”

The Riverside Theatres, Parramatta season of No Pay? No Way! (April 1-4) has also been cancelled.

MONDAY MARCH 16: 8pm

We were just about to wrap for the night but the bad news keeps rolling in. 

The latest is from Sydney Dance Company, which has now cancelled Bonachela/Forsythe, a production set to have its first performance at the Roslyn Packer Theatre on March 21.

It was widely expected given that the Packer can seat nearly 900 patrons, substantially over the 500-person cap.

A statement from SDC reads:

“The Company is currently investigating the possibility of re-mounting this exciting program later in the year. More information regarding the feasibility of this will come at a later date. Sydney Dance Company’s public dance classes, short courses, youth ensemble and school holiday workshops will continue in the Company’s studios in Wattle Street, Ultimo.”

Sydney Writers’ Festival has also cancelled all events.

MONDAY MARCH 16: 4:45pm

Just in: Andrew Henry has extended the Old Fitzroy’s darkening to include Red Line Production’s planned season of Robert Askins’ Hand to God, directed by Sydney Theatre Award-winner Alexander Berlage.

The art that will be made after COVID-19 passes is going to be “extraordinary,” Henry says. But for now, he asks for patience and good will:

“If you have purchased a ticket for any production, I would like you to please seriously consider leaving that with us as a donation to help us survive or waiting until our seasons are rescheduled and we can transfer your ticket. Should you want a refund we will of course honour that- just be patient with us as we are a small team and it’s a struggle to handle the large demand for communication.”

MONDAY MARCH 16: 4.30pm

No word yet from Sydney Theatre Company on its plans but Melbourne Theatre Company has announced the cancellation of all remaining performances of Torch the Place and Emerald City, effective immediately.

In a joint statement, MTC Artistic Director and& CEO Brett Sheehy and MTC Executive Director and Co-CEO Virginia Lovett said the cancellations are the most responsible course of action in the interest of public health at this time.

“Cancelling performances is not an easy decision, nor is it easy news to break.

“Hours of hard work and dedication go into every one of our productions and provide jobs for hundreds of creative professionals who rely on MTC to make a living. This unprecedented situation will drastically impact our industry and we are concerned for all those who are most affected, especially artists, creatives and of course our staff.

“However, the next few weeks are critical in slowing the transmission of COVID-19 and we feel that taking this proactive measure is the most responsible thing to do for our community and the greater good.

“We have both worked in this industry for 30 years. Never in our careers have we seen anything like this, nor has the sector needed support more than now. We have asked ticket holders for the cancelled performances to consider exchanging their tickets to another show or offering them as a donation to the Company.”

And we note that the participatory hit Sing-a-Long-a-Sound-of-Music, scheduled to play at the State Theatre in Market Street on March 21 has also been cancelled. Expect other performances slated for that venue (Rolling Thunder Vietnam, the Moscow Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty) to go the same way.

Stayed tuned for more updates and if you have any information to share regarding changes to performance schedules, please get in touch. contact@audreyjournal.com.au

MONDAY MARCH 16, 2:20pm

The Handa Opera on the Harbour production of La traviata is the latest casualty of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Following advice from the government on Covid-19 (coronavirus), we have cancelled all performances of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour La Traviata,” reads an EDM to ticket holders.

“These are unprecedented times for Opera Australia and, of course, for all Australians. While cancellations are incredibly disappointing, they’re also an unforeseen financial challenge for Opera Australia due to the loss of vital ticket income. But you can help make sure we’re here to continue performing for you long after this crisis is over.

“We’re very proud to be the only major opera company in the world where more than 50% of our revenue comes from ticket sales. However, as Australia’s largest arts employer with more than 1000 employees, plus contractors and suppliers, this strength is also our biggest challenge through the Covid-19 crisis.”

The loss of this massive production, which generates hundreds of casual jobs in hospitality and site management, will be keenly felt.

News just in and positive for once: Newtown’s Old 505 Theatre is open as advertised until further notice.

The Old 505, ” is a small theatre of 65 capacity, in a closed to public building. We do not have large numbers of people coming through our doors or attending our performances and our current operational model is low risk. To date we have not received any advice that would cause us to alter our performance schedule, and we look forward to welcoming you to the theatre soon.”

Xavier Coy’s play Distortion is now playing.

MONDAY MARCH 16: 11.30am

The Sydney Opera House has cancelled all events scheduled to take place in its theatres today.

A statement on the SOH website reads:

“The Federal Government has advised that all organised non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more should not proceed. We regret to announce that all performances at the Opera House on Monday 16 March have therefore been cancelled. Ticketholders of any affected event will be notified directly. Further information about future performances will be provided soon.”

This evening’s 6.30pm performance of the Sydney Theatre Company’s No Pay? No Way! will be among those productions affected.

MONDAY MARCH 16: 8am

The Melbourne season of Billy Elliot the Musical has been cancelled, as of late last night.

In a post on the production’s Facebook page, a statement reads: “The producers of Billy Elliot the Musical sincerely regret to advise that as a result of the Government’s announcement that mass gatherings of more than 500 people will be banned from Monday 16th March, this evening’s performance of Billy Elliot the Musical at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre was its final. The production was due to play until April 19th but due to these unprecedented developments the production had no other option.”

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘s season has been suspended until April 12.

The company statement: “We fully understand that the cancellations are disappointing for ticket holders. Those who purchased tickets for performances from Wednesday 18 March until Sunday 12 April 2020 will be contacted by their point of purchase and refunded. Enquiries will be processed in order of the event date. As a large number of our customers are affected, we appreciate their patience during this time.”

Expect many similar announcements today regarding current productions and those slated to open soon. We’ll keep you posted as they come in.

In other news, Arts Centre Melbourne has closed all its venues to the public until at least April 13.

SUNDAY MARCH 15: 10pm

Opera Australia is cancelling the remainder of its Sydney summer season.

This includes all performances of Attila, Carmen and Great Opera Hits at the Sydney Opera House that were scheduled from Monday 16 through to Saturday 28 March.

In a release issued this evening, Opera Australia wrote: “We are very proud to be the only major opera company in the world where more than 50% of its revenue comes from ticket sales. However, as Australia’s largest arts employer with more than 1,000 employees, not to mention contractors and suppliers, it is this singular strength that will now be our biggest challenge through the COVID-19 crisis.

“This is a time of crisis for performers across the cultural sector. So, it is at this time that I ask any ticket holders to OA or any presenting company – please re-consider your refund requests and instead where possible, to either exchange your ticket to a performance later in the year, convert it to a gift voucher or a donation to the company.”

A decision about the upcoming season of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour will be made in the coming days as all avenues and scenarios are explored with stakeholders and government authorities.

SUNDAY MARCH 15: 6pm

Companies catering for student audiences will be hard hit by the just-announced ban on excursions.

“From Monday onwards, I expect school assemblies and substantial gatherings to be cancelled, along with all excursions,” Secretary of the Department of Education Mark Scott announced in a press release.

The Seymour Centre’s education season for primary and secondary students will likely be affected, as will Sport for Jove’s performances at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta.

Also just announced, MAAS has suspended all public programming from Monday 16 March for an initial period of two weeks. This will include all programs including free guided tours, school visits, group bookings and public programs across the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Observatory and Museums Discovery Centre.

The Museum’s public and exhibition spaces will continue to remain open.

SUNDAY MARCH 15: 1pm

In what may be a something of a bellwether moment for the independent theatre sector, The Old Fitzroy has announced the postponement of its upcoming production of Australian premiere of Aleshea Harris’s award-winning play Is God Is, citing the impact of changing audience behaviour and its effect on a company totally reliant on box office takings.

Andrew Henry, artistic director of Red Line Productions writes:

“Theatre is my greatest love. It is the space that has most inspired me, challenged me, changed me and motivated me. Across the country, my greatest love is hurting badly. The COVID-19 pandemic is already wreaking havoc with closures, postponements and cancellations of so many events and theatre productions across Australia and around the world. My personal gripe about all of this isn’t worth even mentioning because this needs to run its course.

Our 60 seat theatre runs on a month by month basis. We are unfunded, we have the tiniest of reserves and we have only survived because of our ability to operate with a guaranteed 60% minimum capacity. We run off our box office takings and that has always been our sure thing. Over the past two weeks that has dramatically changed, so we have made the decision to postpone our upcoming production of IS GOD IS so that we can mitigate the potential decimation of our company by running without our ‘sure thing’. This sucks, but if we are to survive we have to make this decision.

I hated maths at school but as it turns out, Mrs Seckold was right and the numbers don’t lie. This decision has been made with excellent advice from excellent people and it breaks my heart. We just need to see what happens and postponing Is God Is will allow us the next four weeks to observe what happens with COVID-19.”

Empress Theatre, the producing company of IsGod Is hopes to announce a rescheduled production in coming days.

Nearby, Kings Cross Theatre is working with the managers of the Kings Cross Hotel to continue operations as advertised. For the latest on KXT and COVID-19, visit here.

SUNDAY MARCH 15: 9am

Sydney’s annual Vivid Festival is the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vivid’s website carries the announcement:

“Vivid Sydney is a bright star on Sydney’s event calendar so the decision to cancel was not taken lightly. Vivid Sydney must follow the advice of health officials to ensure the health and safety of attendees and everyone involved with the event.”

The festival, which would have dominated the city from May 22 until June 13 had yet to release a full line-up of acts and cultural events. The 2019 event attracted more than 2 million visitors to harbourside precincts. Its cancellation will have a significant knock-on effect for local artists, businesses, technical crew and casual employees.

Sydney Theatre Company will be contacting all ticket buyers and subscribers on Monday according to a statement on its website.

“Ticket holders for cancelled performances are entitled to a refund for the face value of your ticket(s). We also have a variety of ticket return options including a credit voucher valid for 3 years, or donating the amount as a tax-deductible contribution which will help support our artists and ongoing operations during this challenging time.”

SATURDAY MARCH 14: 11am

“Even if you’re trying to keep cool amidst COVID-19 hysteria, the last 48 hours have been pretty rattling,” wrote Griffin Theatre’s new Artistic Director Declan Greene in an email to audiences on Friday.

“Griffin, like all Australian theatres right now, is in constant discussion about how we respond to this changing situation.”

As of today, ATYP’s season of Mary Anne Butler’s CUSP continues, with performances at 7pm Saturday and Sunday 5pm.

“We’re following the advice of medical authorities including both NSW Health and the Australian Department of Health. At this time, the theatre holds a maximum of 105 people and is regarded as a safe venue to attend,” wrote ATYP Chair Chris Puplik at 10:20am this morning.

Seating less than 500 people, Belvoir plans to continue performances as scheduled.

The first preview of Dance Nation goes ahead tonight. In an EDM issued Friday, the company wrote:

“You will likely have read about the closure of Broadway Theatres in New York and the postponement of some music festivals in Australia. Belvoir St Theatre is a small theatre on a side street in Surry Hills, we do not have the same number of patrons coming through our doors as these organisations. To date we have not received any advice that would alter our performance schedule.”

Operating in the 544-seat Drama Theatre, the Sydney Theatre Company faces some difficult choices in coming days, though as of today, its production of No Pay? No Way! is scheduled to go ahead as advertised.

Bell Shakespeare’s production of Hamlet is also scheduled to proceed today at 2pm and this evening.

The Sydney Opera House Playhouse, seating just under 400, sits comfortably under the Chief Medical Officer’s cap for “non-essential mass gatherings”.

Opera Australia faces very significant disruption to its performance schedule.

On the announcement of the CMO’s advice, the company sent a brief email stating: “We are currently working out what this means for us. We’ll send you an update on Monday morning.”

Tonight’s scheduled performance of Atilla in the Joan Sutherland Theatre is scheduled to proceed at this time.

An announcement regarding the Handa Opera on the Harbour production of La traviata has yet to be made. It is hard to imagine such a large-scale event being able to proceed as planned at this point.

As of this morning, there are no official updates on soon-to-open major productions 9 to 5 the Musical (Lyric Theatre) and Sydney Dance Company’s Bonachela/Forsythe at the Roslyn Packer Theatre. Both venues are substantially over the CMO cap.

There is no word yet on the international production of The Little Prince scheduled for the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket, from April 23-26.

Darlinghurst Theatre also released a statement on Friday, ahead of the first preview of A Chorus Line.

“The health and safety of our artists, employees and guests is always our first priority, and we’re closely following the advice of the various medical authorities including the Australian Department of Health and NSW Health. Based on their current recommendations, performances will continue as scheduled in our small 200-seat venue.”

Riverside Theatres, Parramatta has released a statement on its website, confirming all performances today will go ahead.

The Seymour Centre is adhering to guidance issued by the Australian Government to mitigate risk and implement precautionary measures. These measures include strict cleaning services with a specific focus on high traffic areas, increased availability of hand sanitiser dispensers, and self-isolation requirements for travellers to affected countries. Tonight’s performance of Sport for Jove’s The Crucible will take place as advertised.

Sydney’s medium and small theatres – Newtown’s Old 505 Theatre and New Theatre, the Ensemble in Kirribilli, KXT (Kings Cross), and the Old Fitzroy Theatre (Woolloomooloo) among them – will be presenting their shows as advertised.

Stayed tuned for more updates and if you have any information to share regarding changes to performance schedules, please get in touch. contact@audreyjournal.com.au

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ScreeningKanopy.com 24 - 24 Oct 2020

If the Dancer Dances

Maia Weshcler's intimate 2018 documentary invites viewers into the intimate world of the dance studio.

Macbeth
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ScreeningKanopy.com 24 - 24 Oct 2020

Macbeth

Rupert Goold's film version of Shakespeare's intense, claustrophobic and bloody drama, starring Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood.

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