14 décembre 2020
Conseil québécoise du théâtre
For immediate release
An AGM which was vital, supportive and visionary
Montreal, December 14th
— On November 25th, the Conseil québécois du théâtre held its first virtual Annual General Meeting which was an enormous success. More than 140 members attended this event, key to the democratic process of our organization and our community. And it was a unique opportunity to take the pulse of the community and take stock of this very special year.
The tsunami of the pandemic has forced all of us to review our priorities. Choices made by our governments regarding the sectors that are essential to the proper functioning of our society leave us perplexed, as they underline strongly how the place accorded to arts and culture always requires justification. More than ever, the theatre community must make its voice heard and remind us that it is a crucial place for reflection and that it contributes to a collective and democratic life.
We need to state that the inequities within our milieu have been exacerbated in recent months. Those who were already working in precarious conditions now find themselves in an untenable position, as much in terms of their living conditions as in terms of their conditions for creative work. With the support and collaboration of the provincial and federal governments, we must tighten the social safety net so that no one, especially self-employed workers, falls through the cracks. Government assistance is valuable, but it does not allow us to meet all the needs of the community, not only because the assistance is insufficient, but also because it does not cover all the realities of the theatrical ecosystem.
In the face of uncertainty, our community is exhausted and isolated. How to create, rehearse, produce and dialogue with audiences while in full confinement? Several theatres had taken up the challenge and proposed alternative seasons this fall, and then the second wave hit. More than anything else, what the theatre community needs now is to get back to their work and with that have an idea that what we do makes sense. Until we can reopen the theatres, there is a need to maximize support to the community to encourage research, creativity and pre-production work. We need to ensure that those who usually make the stages vibratant can continue to think about theatre and develop their art. Helping this environment to flourish during the pandemic means preparing for a highly anticipated reunification with our audiences when they are allowed return to the theatres.
We note that, from the start of the fall theatre season of 2020, strict health protocols were put in place and no outbreaks – not one - have occurred in our theatres! Therefore, when it was declared that our locations would be closed because they were in the red zone, we were astounded. But like everyone else, we understand that the sanitary state of affairs is disconcerting. Notwithstanding this, we request the authorities consider the fact that a reopening in our sector requires weeks if not months of preparation and that the accompanying measures must take this specificity into account.
Frustration and fatigue - yes the community is feeling it, and rightly so, but what was felt most of all last Wednesday, November 25, was an immense wave of solidarity, expressed by the exemplary commitment of a community that wants to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our members have reaffirmed their confidence in the CQT and have validated its legitimacy to represent the theatre community to the decision-makers. One thing is certain: the work carried out this year will continue in 2021. The CQT is working hard to ensure that this crisis is also an opportunity to lay the foundations for a better future for our community; a future that is less precarious and fairer for all those who make Quebec theatre happen.
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The Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT) is a national group that brings together and represents professional theatre practitioners and organizations in Quebec to promote the development and outreach of the theatrical arts in all their diversity. The CQT is a political force and a well-known forum that allows the Quebec theatre world and its artisans to use it to express the challenges of their artistic practice and the issues of the future.