Three of Victoria’s largest arts organisations, The Victoria Symphony, Pacific Opera Victoria, and Dance Victoria, have announced they will be suspending physical programming for the next 18-months through 2021/22.
Announced in a press release on Wednesday, the Victoria Symphony said it is acting out of concern for the, “health and welfare of the organization’s patrons, musicians, artists, staff and volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak.”
“The decision to suspend all performances is in compliance with the Province of British Columbia’s COVID-19 health regulations and Restart Plan.”
The orchestra returns to their regular season format once, “it is deemed safe to do so by the Province and its top health officials.”
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said VS CEO Kathryn Laurin, “we hope that we will continue to be recipients of our patrons’ unwavering support as we weather these extraordinary times. Now more than ever it is critical to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for our wonderful symphony orchestra. We look forward to welcoming our audiences back to the concert hall to experience live symphonic music as soon as we are able to perform safely.”
Pacific Opera Victoria was to present mainstage productions of Carmen, Death in Venice and Don Giovanni at Victoria’s Royal Theatre and McPherson Playhouse, which remain closed until the foreseeable future. They have instead focused on “Opera Etc.”, an online initiative that features free programming online.
Dance Victoria said, “it is a heartbreaking decision for dance and performing arts lovers, our artistic collaborators…” but remain “committed to returning to its performances when it is deemed safe to do so by the Province of British Columbia and its top health officials.”
British Columbia is currently in phase two of a four-phase program to re-open the economy amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Phase three will allow for gatherings of up to 50, and phase four is contingent on the development of a vaccine or herd immunity.
Until phase four is launched, Victoria’s three major arts organisations will focus on producing social media content, and are developing plans for remote events online.