Help us keep our local performance Arts

They are vital to our future

By Dorothy Dobbie

The COVID-19 forced shut down has displaced many fine people from their livelihoods and threatened, even ended, some of our small but important businesses.

The performance arts are critical to our success as a city and as a province.

No sector has been more affected than our entertainment businesses and that includes our own performance arts: the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Manitoba Theater Centre, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Manitoba Opera, and our increasingly important film and music company, On Screen Manitoba.

These businesses, plus many of smaller performance organizations, regularly employ thousands of Manitobans, not just on stage as performers, but behind the scenes in a myriad of jobs from carpenters making sets to dressmakers creating costumes to specialists in musical instrument repair and others doing lighting, electrical work, computer programming, and all the many administrative tasks that are a vital part of any business.

And remember, these are businesses. Their love for what they do and their dedication to doing it on a wing and a prayer, always strapped for cash, has little to do with their business acumen and much to do with the limitations of working in a small market. For the most part, we have a finite number of patrons to draw on. Despite this, we have been able to attract some of the most wonderful artists in the world to make this their home and to add value to our living conditions just by being here. They are our teachers as well as our artistic mentors. They nurture the creative spark that makes our community unique and allows us to punch above our weight on world stages.

So, we cannot let them fail because we sent them home to help us avoid COVID-19. We need them and right now, and they need us. We are imploring governments to help see us through the worst of this, but we need all the help we can get from everyone. Here at Pegasus and Lifestyle 55, the Local Gardener magazine and The Hub, we are introducing a special editorial feature in Lifestyles which will help you to get to know these wonderful people better over the next few months. When they are ready to come back to the stage, show your support by coming to performances. 

And if you are uncomfortable going into a crowded theatre, buy a ticket and listen or watch through the digital world. I know all these critical businesses are looking for new ways to serve you as the audience, even if you can’t attend in person.