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Message in Pandemic Times

Apr 5, 2020

Dear OISTAT friends,

Just the other day I got reminded by my cell phone to check in for my flight from Houston to Havana. Attending USITT - where I wanted to get inspired, meet friends from all over and of course do my annual check-up with the board - provided an excellent bonus opportunity to travel on to Cuba, to join the Congress of the Theatres of Latin America (TTLA). Perfect timing. With just one ‘but’: I was not in Houston when I received my phone alert to check in for my Havana-flight. I was at home, in the Netherlands, in a lockdown situation because of the Covid-19 virus.

I don’t think there is anyone of us who is not affected by the Corona pandemic. The impact is grave. My deepest respect primary goes to those who work in healthcare, in whichever way - they are the heroes of our time. The global economy is shaking and all economic activity is in danger, effecting people’s lives in a severe way. With such big issues to deal with, art might seem a superfluous matter. It’s not. On the contrary.

Art is the silent engine that makes the world a better place. It’s proving itself to be true now that the pandemic has confined us to our homes, and we feel the lack of it. Not being able to practice, to create, to interact – whereas that is exactly where we normally all strive at: sharing a live experience. It’s importance is all the more clear now that we are lacking it.

I’m impressed by the creativity found on a new stage: the digital one. Initiatives are emerging on the digital platform in order to create bridges in these difficult times. Our sector is proving its resilient status. My respect goes to you all, staying positive although you have to be working in solitude instead of in teams, seeing your opening nights cancelled, audiences absent, work postponed, income evaporated….and still finding ways to share your work and be constructive. All working hard, and setting the example to stay positive: preparing and rehearsing at home, performing on your balcony, give lessons in Zoom or Hangout sessions, in short: being able to stay optimistic and inspiring.  Especially now, we have to show unstoppable believe in the healing force of art, for our soul needs mending and comforting too.

I’m proud of all of you.

Stay safe, stay healthy, be careful out there,

Bert Determann
OISTAT President


 

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OISTAT in 2019