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Canadian shows travel less internationally

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The TransAmériques festival (FTA) attracts the general public, but also show programmers from different countries.

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In slow motion during the COVID-19 pandemic COVID-19, Canadian performance tours abroad have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. Around eight in ten entertainment companies or agencies lost more than 30% of their international performances during the 2022-2023 season compared to the previous season.

This is one of the highlights of the report Weakening of the performing arts ecosystem unveiled Monday by the International Conference of Performing Arts (CINARS). This organization supports the export of Quebec and Canadian performing arts.

We must maintain the international visibility of Canadian artistic excellence, underlines Gilles Doré, general director of CINARS. Otherwise, other countries will take Canada's place on foreign stages.

We must quickly recover what it took us decades to achieve. build, alerts anyone who is worried about the repercussions for the years to come, especially since there is at least a year or two years between the marketing of a show abroad and its presentation in a theater.

Several agencies selling Canadian shows elsewhere in the world have already closed down, the crisis caused by the pandemic having reduced their income.

With each closure, a little bit of the expertise in exporting Canadian performing arts disappears.

These agents are specialists in the positioning of a work in a territory, says Gilles Doré. They have access to programmers, they know about visas…

Inflation, among other things, is slowing down the resumption of international tours of circus shows , dance, music or even theater. The costs of transporting teams, equipment by cargo and accommodation costs represent enormous expenses for companies, explains Gilles Dorés.

These costs are all the more significant given that the geographical location of Canada often requires artists to take a plane to perform. Europe is an important market for Canadian shows.

Another obstacle, particularly for the French-speaking organizations that responded to the CINARS survey: the protectionism of show programmers. Due to the pandemic, each country has tended to favor its local artists. And this trend seems to continue.

Finally, to shine on stages around the world, local artists can count less on federal financial aid, the eligibility criteria having been broadened . We hear [from our members] that the envelope is the same, but that it is distributed among a larger number of people, underlines Mr. Doré.

To relaunch tours on various continents, CINARS is calling for more money to help companies cover transport costs and on-site stay expenses, as well as the sustainability of funds to facilitate the arrival of programmers from elsewhere in the world. in Canada.

Their participation in events such as the TransAmériques festival (FTA) or the CINARS Biennale in Montreal allows them to discover artistic creations from here at a lower cost, and thus sell them shows.

CINARS would also like the staff of Canadian companies touring the United States to obtain visas more easily. The problem of obtaining American visas is increasing, it is a brake on the circulation of art, regrets Gilles Doré.

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