STAND Webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on theatre and dance aesthetics

Monthly webinar series by Sustaining Theatre and Dance (STAND) Foundation focuses on aesthetics

I facilitated a webinar on the impact of the coronavirus restrictions on the forms of theatre and dance in late October.  This webinar dealt not only with the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic on theatre and dance, but its aesthetic consequences in particular.  We are educated to believe that the uniqueness of theatre and dance lies in the live, real-time encounter between the performers and the audience.  With theatre and dance not having real-time audiences during lockdown conditions, what has been the impact on theatre and dance aesthetics?  How have theatre and dance makers adapted to the pandemic’s restrictions and which of these adaptations should be regarded as temporary, and which of these may have a more long-term – negative or positive – impact on dance and theatre?

There were five panelists: Biljana Tanurovska Kjulavkovski from North Macedonia; Erwin Maas, a NYC-based theatre-maker, educator and international arts advocate from the Netherlands;  Asiimwe Deborah GKashugi ,an award-winning Ugandan playwright, and the Artistic Director of the Kampala International Theatre Festival; Musa Hlatshwayo, the Artistic Director of Mhayise Productions, an internationally-acclaimed performing arts company based in KwaZulu Natal and Christiaan Olwagen, the former Standard Bank Young Artist for Drama in 2015 who has won multiple awards both as a theatre director, and more recently for his directorial work in films such as Kanarie and Poppie Nongena.