The challenges and opportunities of the performing arts online

As we work through the challenges of COVID-19, many people are asking questions about what the Performing Arts will look like on the other side of the pandemic. Certainly, we’re likely to be facing a very different world in many respects and the performing arts is no exception. The structures we have taken for granted in arts education will be challenged, and we will need to evaluate what is truly important as we reconnect as an arts community.

That being said, the essential elements that attract us to the performing arts remain. Distancing may be in place, but the connection and chemistry between performers and audience will be as real as ever. The elation of a superb performance will still thrill, and the power of shared experience will unite our students as we rediscover the joy of rehearsing and refining our craft, and sharing that joy with others.

There is much to look forward to. We are currently preparing a series of online recitals, including our annual vocal cabaret showcasing the performances of some 150 instrumental students, which will be broadcast in the final week of Term 3. Shortly, a Canvas course will be launched as the central point for audition material for our 2021 programs and, while auditions will look very different in this context, students will still have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and find their place in an ensemble or production. The annual Friends of Carey Music instrumental bursaries will be awarded in November, and details about selection processes will be made available in due course. Most significantly, we have our community to reconnect with when we inevitably return to learning onsite.

The coming months present us with challenge and opportunity: challenge to function as an arts community in a very different space, and opportunity to find new ways to work together; challenge to rebuild our skills, and opportunity to strengthen our foundations; challenge to share our work in a meaningful way, and opportunity to share this work with a broader audience.

I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our Year 12 performing artists. While we don’t seek to dwell on what has been lost, it behoves us to recognise their contribution artistically and culturally. If culture is derived from the stories we tell about ourselves, then 2020 has been a year where those stories have been sorely missed.

Nick Mulder
Head of Performing Arts

Feature image: The Senior School play cast rehearsing before the stage 4 restrictions for Love and Information.