26 mars 2021
Montreal, March 26, 2021
— After a year of coping with this pandemic, the Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT) has looked forward to finding out about what provincial budgetary measures would be put in place to help the theatre community emerge from this crisis.
For several months now, the CQT has been focussing on two essential measures which support our professionals who contribute to the vitality and richness of the theatre community. Above all, these requests were aimed to provide more certainty to a milieu that is drained and struggling to see an end in sight. Besides the renewal of the Mesure particulière d'aide à la diffusion de spectacles, we asked for a massive investment in the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) with the aim of supporting research, creation, and pre-production activities in theatre.
In terms of the first request, we welcome the $60 million increase to the Mesure particulière announced in the budget. Now that theatres have begun to reopen at a reduced capacity, all indications are that this amount should see us through the end of the health crisis and provide support until at least the end of 2021. This announcement will allow presenters to start working again and be able to commit to artists and artisans for the upcoming season.
Right now, while we do not have all the information about the distribution of the $147 million cultural stimulus package announced in the budget, we do hope that $33.6 million, a significant portion of the funds allocated for additional assistance to cultural organizations and artisans, and the $14 million allocated to promote and support the implementation of cultural initiatives, will be invested in CALQ.
Long before the pandemic, life for theatre artists has always been extremely erratic. The health crisis has had the effect of a massive blow to many, as evidenced by the recent report Pour que les arts demeurent vivants
authored by the Fédération nationale de la culture et des communications (FNCC). The needs at CALQ are enormous, if only to ensure a respectable success rate in grant competitions. But we will wait to find out more details on how the funds will be distributed before responding more specifically to these proposed investments.
And finally, we have learned that the $5 million envelope given to CALQ each year to support projects for young audiences will now be a permanent allocation to CALQ's regular budget. This is excellent news for the theatre for young audiences’ sector, who have been requesting this stability for a long time.
Finance Minister Éric Girard's budget is presented as a budget of resilience and hope. Over the past year, the theatre community has shown flexibility, adaptability, patience, and perseverance. However, we need more than hope. To ensure a true path out of this crisis, we need concrete measures which will allow our artists and artisans the ability to create under acceptable conditions.
We look forward to the details of the initiatives announced yesterday and hope that they will pave the way for a revival that will position Quebec theatre as an essential player in our collective culture.
– 30 –
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.