Freelance writer specialising in serendipity: the art of finding wonderful things by accident or sagacity. Comments and suggestions always welcome!
Published April 17th 2020
Enjoy amazing talent from around the world
Earlier this week, the cost of my tickets to A Chorus Line was refunded. This production was the annual mid-year musical presented by the students of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all performances were cancelled. I was disappointed until I thought of the hundreds of hours of work needed for a major production; rehearsals, costumes, marketing, stage management and much more. The cancellation would be heartbreaking – and the same thing is happening to theatre, art and music events everywhere. Fortunately, thanks to technology and some innovative thinking, The Social Distancing Festival was born. The festival website serves as a gateway to dance, music, theatre and visual art events from all over the world.
The idea for The Social Distancing Festival came to Canadian playwright Nick Green when his own production of a new musical was cancelled. Along with a project team, a website "celebrating art from all over the world, showcasing amazing talent, and coming together as a community" was created.
The festival website features a calendar of live stream performances and links to photos, excerpts from the event that were cancelled and more. There's a donations page listing arts organisations that would welcome support throughout this difficult time. The festival also welcomes submissions from all and has received thousands from around the world.
In addition to the live stream calendar, there are five main categories of events to choose from - visual arts, dance, music and theatre/musical theatre/opera plus a featured area for "some of the submissions that really stood out" to the website team. Read on for a few samples.
Visual Arts artists around the world who had exhibitions cancelled or closed now have a place to share their work. One example from Denmark is Maria Dubin's show A Walk in the Park which opened on the 7th of March, and three days later the country closed completely down.
Music From orchestra to comedy accordion, there's something for everyone here. Check out Italy's L'Ottava Pop Choir. They used technology and their mobile phones to record this great cover of Billie Eilish's 'Bad Guy'.
Featured This section is updated regularly with anything that stands out to the website team. When I clicked on it while researching this article, here's what came up first:
Needless to say, I loved it!
Here there would normally be information about ticket prices, transport, weather, what to bring, the latest in festival fashion and so on. At this festival, the only thing to be aware of are time differences, especially on live streams. Hope to see you "there".
If you enjoyed the festival, please consider making a donation here or to a local group.
*****Just after I finished this article a new section was added to the festival. Coming soon: Long Distance Art. "Over the past few weeks, SDF creator Nick has been busy "matchmaking" artists from different artistic disciplines in different cities around the world, tasking them to collaborate on a new piece of art that will be exhibited on The Social Distancing Festival. These unbelievable artists hail from places including Toronto, Dar es Salaam, Ohio, Calgary, New York, and Perth. These artists include musicians, painters, composers, dancers, fibre artists, and multimedia designers."