Persistent pandemic hurts performance at Cape Breton’s Highland Arts Theater

SYDNEY, NS – Over the past two years, Wesley Colford has gone out of his way to keep the lights on at the Highland Arts Theater.

Colford put on shows for a limited audience and even designed the first model of community-funded professional theater, Radical Access, to keep the HAT running while providing the local market with free shows that have been hailed internationally as a new one. management model of local theaters.

Yet COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions keep returning.

“This is what has worried us since March 2020,” Colford said last week. “This has been going on for two years and it’s not going to go away. “

Colford said the sector had been affected by the cuts and continued changes and fears about its future.

“It’s scary that the performing arts are on such a precipice right now. “

Shows cost money to direct and a lot of that money is used in the initial planning and staging – if no one shows up or the shows are canceled, the producers are left with the bag of subsequent debts, a situation that could even prevent future shows from being attempted.

“It’s scary that the performing arts are on such a precipice right now. – Wesley Colford

Colford believes the performing arts sector will need more government support to recover and hopes the government will be able to provide what will be needed when the pandemic eventually abates.

“It comes down to priorities and whether live performances are something we value – artists deserve to be valued. “

But for now, the doors to the Sydney City Center Theater remain closed until the province’s rules are relaxed.

Colford hopes the community support will be there when they are able to perform again.

“It’s very dark right now,” Colford said. “It was more difficult this time than any other time. We will survive, but we need your support more than ever.