Indoors, outdoors and online: The show goes on for Montreal theatre companies

While the old adage goes 'the show must go on,' the new edit is now 'the show must go on safely.'

Montreal-area theatres are finding creative ways to get back to show business with performances indoors, outdoors and online.

For the first time in its 40 years, Geordie Theatre's two annual tours will be presented virtually. The team invested in lights and cameras to build a studio to stream shows like 'Celestial Bodies.'

Artistic director Mike Payette said he wanted to ensure the theatre company was we still accessible to the remote communities it reaches every year.

"The tour itself with Geordie reaches about 40,000 young people every year, about 200 performances every year, so when the pandemic hit, it behooved Geordie to really think about keeping the bridges alive with the remote communities that we reach, which are often marginalized communities as well," he said.

The Centaur Theatre is offering up their Portico Project: live theatre pieces on its front steps, some of which have COVID-related plot lines.

"We thought, 'How can we start the season in a live way completely safe for both the artists and the audience?' The front of the building is beautiful and kind of a natural presentation space," said artistic director Eda Holmes.

The result is an outdoor festival of new short works, with no show longer than 20 minutes. 

"So you can take it in and then move along to something else," she said.

The Segal Centre has engaged its fans online and outside, but by December, the plan is to welcome people back into the theatre.

"It's hard to sell 300 seats on a good day," said executive and artistic director Lisa Rubin. "Now we have to sell 60 to 90 and I hope there are 60 to 90 people who are not comprised and keen to come back. Our job is to ensure that we are as safe as we can be, like anywhere else. We're working really hard on that now."

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