We understand that we have a duty to help our fellow citizens make sense of this world, to interpret and reflect, to help our audiences to experience catharsis, to speak truth to power and somehow, somewhere, to find beauty, to affirm life. Even though we, too, are not well.

We are gathered here at the #STANDTOGETHER Arts Summit, 2021, in a time of crisis for the arts, for theatre and dance in particular.

Unlike other times in history, the existential threats do not emanate from the emergence of other entertainment forms such as radio, cinema, television and online platforms that could draw away audiences and pose an economic threat to theatre’s viability; rather, the threat is from an invisible virus, that impacts the very way we are gathered here: with masks, physically distanced, with limited numbers, our hands dipped in alcohol. Audiences – gatherings – are deemed to be the primary way to spread the virus.

The very existence of theatre and dance has been adversely impacted by the temporary and permanent closure of performance spaces, the cancellation of festivals, curfews and audience restrictions that severely limit income, the deaths of numerous theatre-makers, the reluctant but forced migration to more…

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