Finally !, exclaimed Catherine Voyer-Léger, director of the Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT). We’re going to open the champagne.
Indeed, after almost six months of closure, the performing arts will be able to come back to life in Montreal and in regions still in the red zone.
I am very relieved and even moved, because we have been waiting for this moment for a long time.
It’s a wind of optimism blowing through society , added Ms. Pintal in an interview on Tuesday to the show The 15-18.
Same relief on the side of Luc Fortin, president and interim director general of the Guild of musicians and musicians of Quebec (GMMQ).
It was about time, because it was getting long, he said. This is the day when we can start rebuilding on ruins.
Enthusiasm is also evident on the side of Julie-Anne Richard, who heads RIDEAU, the professional association of show presenters.
I am particularly moved. It’s a big step forward, she confided.
We hope that it is definitive and that the administration of vaccines will be done at full speed so that we never again experience such a situation.
For the director Serge Denoncourt, the joy is tinged with the concern to see Quebec reconfine itself because of the variants, as is the case in Italy at present.
We all have the same fear: restarting a theater and shutting it down. It would be the worst case scenario, he fears.
We must go carefully, because our rooms should not close again, said Lorraine Pintal. It would be tragic.
The announcement made by Prime Minister François Legault also gives festivals optimism in anticipation of the summer.
This openness gives us hope, because since the start of this pandemic we have been told that outdoor activities are always less risky than indoor activities.reacted Patrick Kearney, president of the Regrouping of regional independent artistic festivals (REFRAIN) and general manager of the Santa Teresa Festival.
Cultural venues relieved to see curfew pushed back to 9:30 p.m.
According to information sent to cultural organizations by the Ministry of Culture and Communications just before Prime Minister François Legault’s press conference, performance halls and theaters will be able to accommodate a maximum of 250 people per hall.
A distance of one and a half meters must be respected between each bubble and the wearing of a mask will be compulsory for the duration of the performance.
The performing arts community feared resuming shows with the constraint of a curfew maintained at 8 p.m. Finally, it will now come into effect at 9:30 p.m. in the red zone from today.
This is double good news, said Julie-Anne Richard. This makes it easier for broadcasters.
The fact that the curfew becomes later in the red and orange zones also delights cinemas in the greater Montreal area.
Since the end of the spring break, the situation was complicated for them between the curfew at 8 p.m. and the loss of income caused by the ban on the sale of drinks and snacks such as popcorn.
This will make it possible to organize screenings at 7 p.m., which are the most popular performances, and it will encourage distributors to release new films.
A gradual recovery in practice
Although the theaters are authorized to reopen in 10 days, the resumption will take place over several weeks, while everything is ready and the artists already engaged on sets, for example, are available.
This will be done over several weeks, estimated Serge Denoncourt. There are theaters that are ready, others that are, but whose actors are not free, and there are theaters that must rehearse.
Montreal theater Duceppe announced Tuesday evening that performances of his play Love is a dumpling will be given as of March 31. The Théâtre du Rideau Vert will meet its audience on April 20 for the play The real world? by Michel Tremblay. As for the re-entry of the TNM, it will be on May 4 with The dreamer in his bath.
According to the feedback I have had, half of the theaters will reopen on March 26 and the other half will need a little more time, explained Catherine Voyer-Léger. Some rooms have a lot of staff to repatriate, which requires organization.
The music scene should be able to reconnect with audiences faster than some theaters.
Lots of shows and venues are ready, said Luc Fortin.
The Orchester Métropolitain has announced that it will present a concert to an audience at the Maison symphonique on March 27.
To reopen while respecting the rules, the Lion d’Or cabaret, a venue located on Ontario Street in Montreal, has decided to adapt.
From March 26, a maximum of 64 people will be able to see comedian Louis-José Houde on stage, who will perform twice in the evening.
We’ll start early and the shows will be shorter, said Sara Castonguay, the general manager, interviewed on Tuesday on the show Economy zone on ICI RDI.
Presenting concerts without a bar?
While the cultural community has the feeling that its horizon is becoming clearer, uncertainties remain, particularly concerning the reopening of distribution venues with bar and restaurant permits.
I have no answer, said Jon Weisz, director of Scènes de musiques alternatives du Québec (SMAQ), which represents some sixty small independent venues. We should have some in the next few days.
To what extent will it be possible to provide services [musicales] without the sources of income [que représentent la vente d’alcool et de nourriture]?, he asked himself. If theaters don’t lose money [en ouvrant quand même], they will.
At the end of February, SMAQ asked Prime Minister François Legault to allow rooms that do not offer fixed seats to reopen. This issue has since been resolved.
The seats will have to be assigned, but not necessarily that the seats are fixed to the floor, said Jon Weisz.
Another question: will the distribution assistance measure which compensates for tickets not sold due to the more limited capacity of theaters be maintained after March 31?
We have received positive signals concerning the continuation of this very structuring measure for the community., welcomed Julie-Anne Richard.
We understand that the measure will be renewed in the next budget, but until when, asked Catherine Voyer-Léger.
With information from Eugénie Lépine-Blondeau