From the ConFest 2020 Steering Committee and CAATA’s Executive Director, Soriya K. Chum:
Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, our lives have changed in drastic ways in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. This is an unprecedented time. Many of us are working from home, communities have shuttered their businesses, and we are left to wonder when and how things will return to some semblance of normalcy.
CAATA acknowledges the many challenges faced by artists and theatres during this difficult period. To say that the pandemic has been disruptive to our field is an understatement. We’ve seen it upend productions, future travel plans, and the very fundamental operations of our institutions. And while we consider the repercussions of the virus on our field as a whole, it’s important to note that theater practitioners and organizations of color are among those who will feel the impact the most. We assure you, though, that this will pass, but not without our preparedness for what comes after. Our preparedness relies now on our collective knowledge and action.
CAATA is working to piece together a picture of how its constituents have been affected. In the coming weeks, we will be asking our members from across the country to take a moment to fill out a survey. This survey is intended to help us understand the toll the coronavirus has had on our community of theater-makers and organizers. It will also help guide us towards ideas of how we can help.
As for ConFest Hawai’i (Aug. 7 – 16), CAATA is proceeding as planned for now. We are working with hosts and partners to closely monitor the virus and assess the feasibility of moving forward with ConFest as scheduled. We will officially announce by mid-May whether or not the situation necessitates postponement. Please check back on our website www.caata.net for updates.
In the meantime, we encourage you to stay safe and take the proper precautions delineated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Their guidelines can be found here.
We recommend these resources for artists:
- Theatre Communications Groups – COVID-19 Prepare, Mitigate, Recover
- American for the Arts – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Resource and Response Center
- Alliance of Residence Theatres New York – Coronavirus Resources
- National Endowment for the Arts – COVID-19 Resources for Artists and Arts Organizations
- Creative Capital – Arts Resources During COVID-19 Outbreak
During this time, it’s also critical that we find ways to come together to fight the bigotry that has emerged in the wake of the outbreak. Across the nation, there has been an escalating number of hostile attacks on Asian Americans. Within the last week, Asian Americans reported over 650 reports of discrimination. CAATA condemns these racist and xenophobic attacks. It is critical that our message of condemnation does not get lost in this crowded media space. Please join us in the movement of theater artists who are fighting the hate with the hashtag #RacismIsAVirus. If you or someone you know has been a victim of an attack, please contact your city’s Human Rights Commission.
We also recommend joining the efforts of these organizations trying to capture data relating to the recent surge of attacks:
This may be a time of social distancing, but it is also a time for us to join minds and hearts to show our kindness and resilience. We’ll get through this together.
Soriya Chum and Confest 2020 Steering Committee