The Cowichan Performing Arts Centre has been unable to hold live performances since last March. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Duncan’s Big Stick lights up red to signal COVID’s devastation of the arts

“COVID-19 has been truly devastating to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre”

The Cowichan Performing Arts Centre’s outdoor sign and the Cowichan Community Centre’s “Big Stick” were lit up in red yesterday to honour the devastating loss of the live performance industry due to the impact of COVID-19.

Cowichan Performing Arts Centre’s theatre technical and support staff are among the many performers, agents and promoters who have lost their jobs and are patiently standing by for this lengthy intermission to end.

“COVID-19 has been truly devastating to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre,” says Kirsten Schrader, the manager of the Arts and Culture Division at the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the manager of CPAC.

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“Our theatre’s technicians and support staff have been laid off due to the total lack of live performances, since March 12. While we are slowly starting to map our way back — we’ve been offering online content including podcasts and streamed events online, and have recently been given the go ahead to hold performances with audiences of 50 — it has really been a staggering blow for our venue and the live event industry to absorb.”

One hour after sundown from coast to coast, hundreds of venues and buildings will light their exteriors red to raise awareness for an industry that is still dark — and will be one of the last to recover.

Throughout the evening, images and video will be shared across social media using the hashtags #LightUpLive/EclaironsLesScenes to boost visibility.

In addition to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, the list of participating buildings (accessible at lightuplive.ca/map) includes prestigious performance venues, major arenas, and iconic landmarks like the CN Tower, Calgary Tower, Niagara Falls, Rogers Arena, Massey Hall, the Grand Théâtre de Québec, Confederation Centre of the Arts, SaskTel Centre, Stratford Festival Theatre, Royal Theatre Victoria, and many more.

For more information and to see a list and interactive map featuring the participating venues, visit www.lightuplive.ca

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