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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

A look to the future of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre misses you. All of you.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected our artists, our audiences, our partners and our work in ways that we could never have imagined. As with many of our colleagues across the country, we mourn the loss of live music, theatre, dance, conversation and the coming together of community that we so proudly hosted and programmed over the last five years. We are actively championing our collective futures and believe passionately in the power and necessity of the arts in a caring, unprejudiced and connected society.

A look to the future…

The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre misses you. All of you.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected our artists, our audiences, our partners and our work in ways that we could never have imagined. As with many of our colleagues across the country, we mourn the loss of live music, theatre, dance, conversation and the coming together of community that we so proudly hosted and programmed over the last five years. We are actively championing our collective futures and believe passionately in the power and necessity of the arts in a caring, unprejudiced and connected society.

The team of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre also acknowledges the impact on our world and on every being as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement. We recognize that racism and inequities against Black, Indigenous and People of Colour exists in Canada – even our very communities – and that we all have a responsibility to take action. We will prioritize the eradication of racism with specific actions that promote inclusivity, equity, accessibility and that foster and celebrate diversity, in our FirstOntario PAC policies and procedures. This encompasses work with our Board of Directors, to our programming decisions, operational policies and day to day work and interactions. Our commitment to this action will be integrated into the planning that we begin this summer.

We are resilient in our commitment to our core priorities of being an active downtown catalyst and a diverse and flourishing centre of the arts for the Niagara region, while providing essential infrastructure services and support to our regional and touring artists and arts organizations.

Since Friday 13 March 2020, our beautiful, city-owned arts centre has been closed to the public with many events cancelled or postponed into the future. We have had to make the heartbreaking decision to drastically reduce staffing levels in response to financial losses. Under the provincial State of Emergency, our doors may currently be closed to the public, but a small team is able to maintain our core business, programming and planning.

Given current realities, we will not proceed with a traditional 2020-2021 HOT TICKET Season or Film House programming. We are working diligently however to find alternative ways to engage with artists, audiences and community in the digital landscape and will pivot to downtown animation and in-venue programming when we are able to do so.

Going forward with our business and venue operations, we are preparing to proceed flexibly and in a graduated and scaled manner. We will take cues from others in our industry and local public health authorities, while working closely with the City of St. Catharines and adhering to guidance from authorities, all in order to provide for the sustained safety and security of our employees, our artists and our audiences over the next many months. We are actively exploring options for a return to activity inside our building that embraces innovation with respect to safety and scale. In essence, we are open to explore opportunities for our venues and spaces to be used for your activities.

If any of our existing or community clients and partners wants to explore possibilities in or around our facility, we encourage reaching out to our team to find ways of bring your recording, event, or performance to life. We are ready and waiting. We are still open for opportunity.

We extend our sincere gratitude to the government funding bodies that continue to support the work we do, the City of St. Catharines, Brock University, our anchor arts tenants and rental clients, capital and community donors, sponsors, HOT TICKET and Film House members, audiences and community partners for your confidence and commitment to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

Thank you for your ongoing support and your belief that the arts are critical to our communities and to a just society. Our work together is more important than ever.

Colleen A. Smith
Executive Director
FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH OUR 2019-2020 HOT TICKET SEASON WRAP-UP VIDEO

CLICK HERE FOR THE #NIAGARAPERFORMS FREE ONLINE CONCERT + EVENT SERIES 

CLICK HERE FOR THE FILM HOUSE AT HOME VIRTUAL SCREENINGS