By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
Every theatre company (and performing arts organization) in this live theatre town has sustained a devastating blow in the sudden, and continuing, shutdown of the industry six months ago.
In a bleak landscape for live performance, here’s welcome news: theatres, take note. EPCOR has launched a new $1.25 million community recovery fund in support of the city’s hard-hit arts/ culture/ recreation sector. The well-named Heart + Soul Fund invites applications for a one-time grant in three sizes: $5,000, $25,000 to $50,000, and $100,00 to $200,000.
As Thursday’s press conference revealed, the impetus behind Heart + Soul is to help charitable or not-for-profit organizations either to re-shape their existing programming for the new pandemic reality of 2020, or to create custom-made new initiatives. The idea, as EPCOR CEO Stuart Lee put it, is to invest in “re-energizing the community” — a community that relies heavily for its vibrancy, and indeed its identity, on sectors hit the hardest by pandemic reductions and closures.
The fund tops up EPCOR’s emergency relief funding to about $2 million, in addition to yearly $1 million contributions.
Launching digital platforms to transform the in-person to the virtual, re-modifying theatrical venues to accord with pandemic restrictions, mitigating risk, finding new ways of generating revenue, covering ruinous current expenses, leveraging matching funding … all are viable proposals for Heart + Soul.
Capital projects are not eligible; Heart + Soul is designed for the operational. And the projects must be launched in 2020, in accordance with EPCOR’s fiscal year, so the fund is not available for summer festivals. Applications will be accepted starting now, till the $1.25 million is used up. Go for it, theatre companies.
More information about how to apply is available at epcor.com/heartandsoul.