How Winnipeg’s Entertainment Sector Is Adapting to a Socially Distant World
Remember when we shared the luxury of catching a late night movie at the theatre? Or clinking glasses with our friends while enjoying a musical performance? We all miss these experiences and desperately wish we could get back to normal beyond how we entertain, and so do the businesses, establishments, and organizations who provide these experiences to the public.
As a non-essential sector of services, entertainment oriented businesses have been feeling the impact as hard as any of us, but some have found ways to adapt and stay afloat.
Beyond taping arrows on floors and putting up plastic shielding, these businesses have had to think up creative ways to adapt to prepare for reopening.
Performance venues like the Park Theatre and the West End Cultural Centre struggled especially in a socially distanced world because the very nature of their business is to bring customers together for a shared social experience. Now that gathering together in enclosed spaces is unsafe, those businesses have had to take precautions and make changes to protect their customers.
The West End Cultural Centre reduced the seating capacity in their venue and made comfortable seating and tables that adhere to social distancing. They also initiated the “Bring Your Own Mic” concert series, where limited in-person tickets are sold alongside low-priced online tickets for a live-streamed concert. Not only does this keep people interested in their business but it also supports the artists, who were previously doing live streams on social media for free.
The Cinematheque, the Winnipeg Film Group’s intimate theatre in the Exchange District, is another example of a social gathering place that has been kiboshed. Yet they still thrive to provide the services through ticketed at-home screenings. The Winnipeg Film Group also has brought their community together by holding a self-isolation themed 48 Hour Film Contest, complete with rules that ensure filmmakers adhere to healthy physical distancing throughout the filmmaking process. The organization is drumming up engagement with Audience Awards for various categories.
Businesses of all kinds have been hit hard by the social effects of the pandemic, and in some cases businesses are hit so hard that it’s impossible to stay open. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no path forward. As our social and economic world undergoes changes, there will always be new ways to move forward, transform, and adapt.