Victoria University’s Isabel Bader Theatre is normally abuzz hosting academic events including lectures, convocations, plenaries and student theatre. It should not be forgotten, though, that the theatre is also an important player in Toronto’s live-event scene. This 500-seat venue has hosted myriad film festivals, plays and conferences.
In a show of support for the live event workers who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, the theatre was lit up in red for the evening of September 22, 2020. Joining hundreds of other Canadian venues from coast to coast, this Day of Visibility was organized by Live Event Community, a grassroots organization formed in March of this year. The theatre looked dramatic as it was it was lit up from the inside out, through all of the windows, on two levels. Intelligent lighting was used to add dynamism and replicate the feel of a beating heart or pulse. Bespoke AV partnered with Events Victoria and generously donated the equipment required to transform the theatre for the evening.
Since March, the Isabel Bader Theatre has had to cancel over 125 events, leaving more than 62,000 guests unable to attend their live event. These cancellations have impacted the work of more than 24 staff members who contribute to supporting events at the theatre. Part of this awareness campaign was to remind people that live events and their staff were one of the first industries to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and it will likely be one of the last to re-open. Cultural buildings, theatres, music halls and equipment warehouses were all encouraged to find creative ways to #LightUpLive. Notable participants around Canada included the CN Tower, Roy Thompson Hall and Niagara Falls. Across U of T’s St. George campus, Hart House, the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, the Louella Massey Studio Theatre and the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design also took part.
For more information and to see a list and interactive map of venues who participated, visit www.lightuplive.ca.