The Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC), along with its member arts councils including the Yorkton Arts Council (YAC), have announced the decision has been made to postpone all tour dates in the 2020/2021 Season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
”The OSAC Staff did not take lightly the decision to cancel the 2020/2021 Performing Arts Season, and it is a decision made with the full support of the OSAC Board of Directors. The health and safety concerns of each member Arts Council’s volunteers and employees, as well as their patrons and performers, must be made a priority. This decision also considered the provincial government’s current restrictions on large gatherings, which does not have a set end-date at this time. The OSAC Staff has done an excellent job of navigating their way through these unprecedented times, and will continue to have the full support of the OSAC Board as they move forward through this global pandemic,” said Treena Redman – OSACBoard Chair in the release.
Tonia Vermette, Administrator with YAC said locally the 2020-21 series had already been set with eight concerts scheduled starting Oct. 7.
“We have the brochure printed,” she told Yorkton This Week.
Vermette added they are sort of fortunate they had not begun selling tickets for the season. She said typically they start selling season tickets at the final concert of the previous season but Ballet Jorgen's Anne of Green Gables in March and Christine Tassan et les Imposteures in April were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We didn’t start selling tickets,” said Vermette.
As for the provincial decision Vermette said. “They sort of surveyed all the Arts Councils,” adding there are 48 in the province.
In the end cancelling the series seemed to be the best option because of various factors affecting concerts.
For example, locally it was not yet clear whether the Good Spirit School Division would be renting the Anne Portnuff Theatre in the next year due to COVID-19, said Vermette, adding Arts Councils across the province are having to deal with whether venues will be available.
And, at present a concert could have only 30 per cent capacity in attendance.
“We can’t make our series go at that,” said Vermette. “We couldn’t pay for the artists.”
There are also concerns about performers travelling. OSAC provincially had 179 bookings through the 48 arts councils, said Vermette.
“Do they (the artists) want to be travelling,” she said, adding many of the performers are from out-of-province so would be flying in too.
As it stands not Vermette said there won’t be a Stars For Saskatchewan until the fall of 2021, although she did not rule out a one-off concert if the regulations evolve to make it possible financially.
Provincially, OSAC is working with its artist and agent partners to reschedule the dates whenever presenting is again feasible for its mostly volunteer presenters, stated a release. OSAC will continue to monitor new information and guidelines from SHA and the Government of Saskatchewan to see if there is the ability for OSAC members to book and present performances during the 2020/2021 time frame.
“As we all face this pandemic together the OSAC Board and Staff felt that the responsible action at this time was to postpone the 2020/2021 season to ensure the safety off all who are involved at presenting a performance in nearly forty communities as well as audience members. In over 50 years of touring Performing Arts in Saskatchewan, OSAC has never been forced to cancel an entire season, but these are truly extraordinary times. We hope to be able to continue ‘Bringing The Arts To You’ in the fall of 2021,” said Kevin Korchinski – Executive Director with OSAC in the release.