The Argus

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Arts hit by corona virus restrictions

The arts, along with sport, has emerged as one of the sectors most affected by the restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the corona virus Covid-19.

Even before last week's announcement by the government leading to the closure of public venues such as museums and galleries, those keeping a close eye on the spread of corona virus were making their own decision to cancel events.

Orwells 84 called off an in-store gig in Classified Records and Spacers Theatre Group said that they were postponing their production of 'I'm the One for You' which was due to take place in the Dominican Hall at the weekend.

The Taoiseach's announcement in Washington on Wednesday that all indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 should be cancelled, led to the mass cancellation of events around the county.

An Táin Arts Centre has closed its doors and the Spirit Store announced that events due to take place in the coming weeks had either been postponed or cancelled. 'Please understand that this will be a difficult time for all staff, venues and artists concerned,' they noted.

Gigs at the Oriel Centre have also been cancelled and many local pubs around town pulled their live entertainment.

Then on Sunday, following outrage on social media over scenes of crowds in crowded pubs ignoring the advice to maintain social distancing over the weekend, local pubs began announcing on Sunday that they were closing their doors, preempting the Government's call for all pubs and bars to shut down.

Musicians, both professional and amateur, have been affected by the lock down of venues throughout the country. Local traditional musician Zoe Conway, who just last week performed for President Micheal D Higgins in Aras An Uactharan with her husband John McIntyre, says that while she welcomes the decision to cancel all public events, it will impact on her work as a professional musician.

'I have missed Kilkenny Trad Fest this weekend, a concert in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre in Newry on St Patrick's Day and the Copper Coast Trad Festival which was due to take place in a few weeks is also cancelled,' explains Zoe.

'We are working with three schools on the Cooley Peninsula at the moment on a creative composition project and it will have to be postponed. 'I am so relieved that the decision was taken to cancel everything though so will make the best of it and enjoy the time at home with the children!'

The closure of theatres in New York to help slow the spread of the corona virus pandemic also impacted on two local performers.

Ravensdale mezzo soprano Tara Erraught was looking forward to bringing one of her signature roles to New York's Metropolitan Opera House in Rossini's La Cenerentola last week. Writing on social media, she shared her disappointment but added 'I am fully in support of the The Metropolitan Opera and their decision to discontinue all performances immediately beginning on March 12th (our planned opening night) until at least April 3rd.'

She revealed how her 'heart broke' when the day before the planned opening, she learned that the production, for which she had signed the contract five years ago, was being postponed. Thanking her colleagues with whom she had worked on preparing the production, she said 'We had weeks of amazing fun in the rehearsals and to get so close as hours away from the opening night, was so hard.'

Elsewhere, Dundalk dancer Darren Casey was among the cast of 25th anniversary 'Riverdance' tour which was cancelled just two days after opening in the Radio City Music Hall .

Also in the United States, the legendary SXSW festival, at which local band Just Mustard, were due to showcase, announced that this year's event was cancelled.

The Argus