The show must go on-line

Welsh theatres will remain closed until 2021 making it impossible to watch live performances. How does COVID affect the performing arts in Cardiff?

The Welsh are known for their musical talent, from opera singers like Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe, to the stars of the west end like Michael Ball or Catherine Zeta Jones. But since the rise of the coronavirus the world of theatre has taken a hit as it looks unlikely that they will re-open before the new year.

Cardiff’s own Millennium Centre has stated they are hoping to open their doors to the public again in January 2021, whereas other theatres are implying they’ll open in the Spring. This begs the question, with the closure of Welsh theatres until next year, how exactly has COVID affected the performing arts in Cardiff?

Tara Camm, 21, Opera Singer

(Image Credit: Nathan Camm)

“Musical theatre and music in general rely on atmosphere, you need a group of people doing it and the reaction of the audience there, and we don’t get that now. In my University we managed to host a socially distanced opera and many people are hosting online concerts, this is the future for the performing arts. It might take time, but it’s got to get better. The theatres aren’t getting any funding which is an issue, but I think they’ll be fine; there’s too many people who have an interest in it.”

Georgina White, 34, Actor and Vocal Trainer

(Image Credit: Lauren Jennings)

“Live performance is the beating heart of theatres; it is how and why they exist. The subsequent effect (of closure of theatres) on performing arts is devastating. But, I believe Cardiff is one of the most exciting performing arts hubs, full of talented people. It is a solid, supportive community that will reinvent itself and thrive again. We need our government to continue their vital support as the Arts are such an essential part of our culture and heritage.”

Charlotte Lenehan, 18, Drama and Theatre Student

(Image Credit: Charlotte Lenehan)

“From a student’s perspective, not only have people’s jobs and entertainment have been affected with theatres being closed, students all over Wales are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to learning. I personally think it will take a while for theatre in Cardiff to become ‘normal’ again. It took some protests to make the government act and provide funding to the arts and I feel that it should help a little.”

Yang Gao, 23, Music Performance Student

(Image Credit: Yang Gao)

“Composers have more time to inspire and create new works. But as students, they might worry about the quality of online courses and spend more time doing exercises than before, because online courses are not very efficient. Children who learn musical instruments or vocal music need to adopt a new approach, such as through zoom online classes or other applications. Their parents need to learn how to use some apps to work with their mentors. “

Tiffany Cheng, 22, Violinist and Member of Music Society

(Image Credit: Tiffany Cheng)

“The closure of Welsh theatres has reduced a lot of the opportunities to gain experience in performing. As a performer, it is important for us to gain feedback from the audience so as to motivate ourselves. I am a bit lack of motivation and depressed now that I could not perform for the public. Though we cannot perform now, I still think that theatres can survive through and provide different performances in the future.”

Snow Qu,  23,  Drama and Theatre  Student

(Image Credit: Snow Qu)

“This has forced actors to find a new way out. Many of my friends have started to experiment with online performances. But it is not as easy to achieve the feeling of a live show as it is to reach an audience. Closing the theatre must have been a great challenge for everyone. Cardiff has a very high-quality cultural resource.For all these reasons, I believe that Cardiff Theatre is going to do very well in the future.”

Kirsty Richards, 20, President of Act One Drama Society

(Image Credit: Lucy Blair)

“The enjoyment of live theatre by little kids to senior citizens has been taken away and nothing can supplement that. Welsh government has tried to help through various schemes but that might not be enough to sustain the theatres for very long. With sports, there was a lot of pressure on the government to get it going up again, but you don’t hear as many people shouting about theatre until much later. At the moment it’s a standstill, but it’s more of waiting for the new year’s, I am positive that theatres will open up soon.”