From Act II Scene IX of Shakespeare in Love, adapted by Lee Hall from Tom Stoppard’s and Marc Norman’s screenplay of the same name:
Marlowe: But how will it end?
Marlowe: But how?
Will: I don’t know. It’s a mystery.
Theatre Alberta has made the decision to cancel Artstrek 2020 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, we trust this decision is both necessary and prudent for the health and safety of Artstrek students and team members, their families and friends, and Red Deer College staff members without whom Artstrek would not be possible.
We have been working in community over the past few weeks to have difficult, confusing, inspiring, changing, and creative conversations about possibilities. We are hopeful that there will be some amazing opportunities for theatre artists and students this summer—some familiar and some unfamiliar—and we look forward to sharing those with you all.
We want to thank everyone who has reached out to offer support, most especially our key program partners at Red Deer College and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Artstrek is a very large undertaking, and we don’t do it alone. Now more than ever, its impact is keenly felt and appreciated.
If you’re an Artstrek alumni who is 18 years old and Artstrek 2020 would have been your last opportunity to attend, we will welcome your application for Artstrek 2021!
As we were very excited to explore Lee Hall’s Shakespeare in Love at Artstrek 2020, and had assembled an incredible team of Albertan artists and educators to develop and share the curriculum, we are working on plans to have the play and this team as the focus of Artstrek 2021.
Over the coming months, we will be exploring opportunities and possibilities to provide and/or promote extracurricular theatre education for Albertan teens this summer. Stay tuned for our thoughts, dreams, hopes, plans, and questions! In the meantime, we need to attend to the administrative and operational realities of Artstrek 2020’s cancellation, and we thank you for your patience.
Many theatre companies across the province offer day camps during the summer for students of a variety of ages. Should these programs be able to proceed in 2020, we will be sure to share this information widely and proudly!
Finally, we feel it is important to note that theatre companies and arts organizations everywhere are struggling with decision-making for the future right now. Please keep in mind that one event or program cancellation or postponement does not mean that other events or programs should or must also cancel or postpone. We are all working together and working apart. We are all weighing opportunities for collective action against what is best for our own organizations and communities, and everyone’s resources, capacities, and timelines are different. The decision to cancel is not a failure. Likewise, planning efforts and hope aren’t reckless. No one is or should feel alone in this right now. We must support each other in working with the government to comply with restrictions on gatherings and events, and in doing what is best for our communities.
Our thanks, as always, to those who have supported and continue to support Artstrek, including the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Red Deer College, Edmonton Arts Council, Calgary Arts Development, Edmonton Community Foundation, RBC Foundation, Alberta Milk, Saputo, our community sponsors and scholarship campaign donors, drama teachers across Alberta, the Alberta High School Drama Festival Association, Sobeys Gaetz Avenue in Red Deer, 2-for-1 Family Pizza in Red Deer.
Keri Mitchell, Executive Director
Marie Gynane-Willis, Artstrek Director
Jenna Rodgers, Board President and Artstrek Alumnus