The cancellation affects all scheduled performances of St Joan of the Stockyards (23 May – 13 June), Grug (23 June – 4 July), The Happy Prince (18 July – 8 August) and Brothers Book Club (29 August – 19 September).
La Boite Artistic Director and CEO Todd MacDonald said the nation’s longest continuously running theatre company investigated every possible option to postpone or reschedule the programmed work but the unpredictability of the situation prevented it from doing so.
“To have to cancel our season is gut wrenching. It’s the first time in our 95-year history and it is a profoundly sad and sobering experience,” said Mr MacDonald. “My heart goes out to the artists whose work will not be seen and to our audiences who will miss world premieres of some of the city’s most exciting new Australian works.”
“While our mainstage productions will not proceed, La Boite will continue to develop work with our Artists In Residence, provide a platform for open conversation and explore creative solutions and digital approaches so we can continue contributing to our state, both economically and culturally, during this crisis.”
“The artists, audiences and program partners involved in 2020’s season remain part of La Boite’s family and we will investigate all opportunities to work with them on creative development, project partnerships and repurposing skills and talent. Social distancing will have an impact on artists’ and audiences’ mental health and wellbeing, so connection is vital at this time – even if it’s not in person,” said Mr MacDonald.
La Boite Executive Director Zohar Spatz said while it was deeply upsetting to cancel the remainder of the season, it was crucial to make the call now to provide a definitive outcome for everyone involved and to ensure La Boite remained strong for 2021 and beyond.
Ms Spatz said the decision gave La Boite increased ability and financial security to operate with purpose during this turbulent and uncertain time. “The arts is an essential industry in Queensland, providing thousands of jobs, championing internationally-renowned artists and works, and epitomising the breadth and diversity of this state,” she said.
“La Boite supports all government action that provides relief for individuals, small businesses and organisations affected by the ongoing crisis. The arts industry is based on innovation and creativity and we believe that creative problem solving and storytelling will provide the inspiration needed for La Boite to recover and ultimately thrive,” said Ms Spatz.
La Boite remains determined to again program a powerful and diverse season in 2021 and is currently investigating several productions, formats and programming options. “Our priority is to develop and present vital new Australian work that seeks to represent and engage the rich diversity of form, ideas, ethnicity, gender and identity,” said Mr MacDonald.
Box office staff will contact all ticketholders and season pass holders over the coming weeks to discuss options including a full refund, credit, or donating the cost of the ticket back to La Boite to help the company nurture emerging artists and support the creation of world-class theatre.
All ticketholders and season pass holders are asked to be patient while staff navigate this process as quickly and smoothly as possible. “Your support will enable us to continue exploring new arts practice, engage with our community through our youth and education programs and invest in the next generation of theatre makers and audiences,” said Mr MacDonald.
La Boite champions charitable giving during this time and encourages its extended La Boite family to show compassion and generosity by supporting the work of The Actors’ and Entertainers’ Benevolent Fund of Queensland, who have provided emergency financial assistance to creatives in need for more than 45 years.
All La Boite staff, including box office staff, are working remotely and continuing core business operations, including creative development, programming and administration without disruption. While social distancing guidelines and restrictions limiting mass gatherings remain in place, La Boite is unable to open, use or hire its performance spaces and rehearsal studios.
“As we prepare to mark our 100th year in 2025, we understand how important and vital La Boite’s role is to tell stories and provide platforms and opportunities for artists and audiences to connect, to engage and to be entertained,” added Ms Spatz.
La Boite is closely monitoring the advice of government and health authorities and industry bodies, and will be guided by them when it is safe to reopen. All updates, including an expected reopening date, will be posted to La Boite’s website and social media channels when available. For more information, visit: www.laboite.com.au for details.
Image: Todd MacDonald – photo by Dylan Evans