Adaptation and resilience in the performing arts

The pandemic and beyond

Editors:
Pascale Aebischer
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Rachael Nicholas
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Adaptation and resilience in the performing arts shares important insights into the effects of the pandemic on live performance in the UK. It features eight projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council between 2020 and 2022 to undertake research that would address the problems caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The researchers share what they discovered from working with practitioners and companies in the live performing arts (especially theatre and dance) who rapidly adapted their working practices and the spaces in which they were able to connect safely with audiences, whether digital or outdoors. Several chapters provide evidence of the impacts of digital innovations and telepresence technologies on artists and audiences and shed light on how government discourses and the support structures within the industry affected the mental health of creative practitioners. Addressing policymakers and practitioners, others demonstrate how artists and local government events managers approached programming community-based work outdoors. Throughout, the essays are infused with practical energy, inspired by the creativity and dedication of the practitioners, and mindful of how the pandemic exacerbated the structural and financial precariousness of the workforce in live performing arts. They offer evidence-based reflections on values-led practices in the creative sector that model more inclusive, accessible and sustainable ways of working. Adaptation and resilience thus contributes to shaping our understanding of the challenges faced by live performing arts at a time of crisis – and how these may be overcome.

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