Looking Back…the Impact of COVID-19 on the Performing Arts
A webinar - organised by the Corporate Relations Division - looking back on the impact of COVID-19 on the performing arts industry over the past 12 months was chaired by Drama and Performance Studies lecturer, Dr Lliane Loots.
Acting Executive Director of UKZN's Corporate Relations Division, Ms Normah Zondo opened the event by saying: ‘COVID-19 has had a great impact on many sectors of our country and society, including the performing arts industry. This new normal has demanded that all sectors be creative and devise unconventional ways of doing business in order to survive.’
Loots, the Founder of the Flatfoot Dance Company based at UKZN and Artistic Director and Founder of the annual international JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience said: ‘I’m interested in having a discussion around what happens to artist’s economic participation in society as well as their intellectual, emotional, and creative participation because without artists we are a society without a heart.'
Mr Ismail Mahomed, Director of UKZN’s Centre of Creative Arts, spoke on how COVID-19 had demonstrated that the Arts sector had not been properly assisted or catered for in the wake of the pandemic in the same way the other sectors had been. Ismail said the only way the arts could survive was to create ‘partnerships. Artists need each other, more than ever before.’
Musician, poet and graphic designer Iain Ewok Robinson said it was now time for artists to band together and not only help each other but also break down silos that had been built up over the years.
Dancer, choreographer and art administrator Ms Thobile Maphanga, who is studying for a master’s degree, said she supported the suggestion of artists getting together in union and forming communities. ‘It is something which could keep them alive!’ Maphanga said because of the COVID-19 restrictions, those who did not have access to online facilities were losing out in the area of digital opportunities.’
In closing, Zondo said: ‘Thank you to all our speakers - your insightful and productive inputs and contributions to this ongoing conversation were really amazing, thank you again.’
Words: Nonhlanhla Sikhosana