The Show Must Go On: Theater, Arts Going Digital

Mar 20, 2020

“We're seeing a huge amount of loss of gigs,” said Crystal Young-Otterstrom, the executive director of the Utah Cultural Alliance.

Because of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and in accordance with Gov. Gary Herbert's order to minimize gatherings of 10 or more people, a majority of Utah’s theaters and performance halls are shutting down, and they say the financial severity related to the coronavirus will likely be severe to-extremely severe.

“Those struggling the most are heavily ticket sales-oriented, and in the cultural sector, that tends to be, most heavily, the theatre community versus other art forms or versus other humanities subjects," she said. "It's not exclusively them, but they're who I've been hearing from the most.”

But according to Emily Spencer, with St. Mark’s Cathedral and the American Guild of Organists, “Necessity is the mother of invention."

"We need to increase our online presence," she said. "This is the moment we can all figure it out together.”

Maria Sykes, the executive director for Epicenter in Green River, said just because Utahns are practicing physical distancing doesn’t necessarily mean socially distancing. One way local and international organizations are coping with cancelled events and performances is to move to digital streaming platforms — like the Paris Opera announced on Wednesday.

“We're all physically distanced from one another right now, but how can we socially, digitally get closer together, and arts and culture is, like, the most obvious way to actually make that happen," Sykes said. "So even though it's such a messed-up time, I am oddly excited to see what comes out of it just because I see artists and designers as — they have the ability to pivot and be really, really nimble in their work, so hopefully, we're going to see some exciting things in this not-so-great time.”

Now Playing Utah has an up-to-date list of events that have been cancelled, postponed and are still scheduled.