Having been hit hard by the health crisis, the culture sector has been conjuring up imaginative ways of keeping in touch with audiences during confinement.
Since 13 March, the world of culture has been paying a heavy price in the wake of Covid-19: cancelled concerts, empty theatres, closed museums …
Despite the pledged 8.4 million euros in funding announced by the Minister for Culture in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Bénédicte Linard, cultural institutions understandably are fearing for their future. To maintain ties with their audiences, they have come up with a number of alternative solutions, each one more original than the last. Take a look at what they’ve been doing (below) and why not take part in one of these imaginative offerings?
Live chats with the artists of Charleroi’s Théâtre de l’Ancre
This theatre has been broadcasting live online events as a way of allowing artists, hard hit by the crisis, to “stay afloat”… They recently organised an event around the L.U.C.A show which covers themes such as heritage and integration. The programme included a sneak peak behind the scenes, a look at the project’s origins and a Q&A with the artists.
At the public’s request, the theatre team has also set up a fundraiser as a way of showing support during confinement.
A 20/21 season pass for Charleroi’s La Ruche
This theatre has decided to announce its 20/21 season earlier than planned. They are offering original spectator passes which, upon purchasing at either 40 or 80 euros, grant access to the forthcoming season’s shows whilst also supporting the region’s hospitals.
20% of all proceeds will be donated to hospitals in the Charleroi region as part of efforts to tackle Covid-19.
Artistic challenges at the Ferme de Martinrou and the Circomédie circus school in Fleurus
The unique cultural institution that is the Ferme de Martinrou is organising two weekly events during confinement. Each Wednesday and Friday, a new artistic challenge is set. Whether it is dancing or acting, have a look at their Facebook page, and, depending on where your interests lie, have a go at one of the activities.
Whilst many shows have suffered from postponement, the summer courses offered by the Ferme de Martinrou are (for the time being) still going ahead.
The Fleurus circus school has also been sharing a video on its Facebook page each week and inviting the audience to have a go at replicating it themselves.
Juggling, sporting challenges and even cooking are on the programme.
Original videos for Charleroi Danse in Charleroi…
To keep in touch with their audiences, the “Charleroi Danse” choreographic centre (see cover photo, credit: Charleroi Danse) has been streaming videos made by their artists in their homes. The centre has given them permission to share whatever they like from their artistic moments during confinement.
Dance, reading, music, handy hints… Posted using the hashtag #ensuspension, these videos are extremely uplifting. Check out the Charleroi Danse’s Facebook page to find out more.
…and online classes for the “Som temps dance” association in Couvin, Walcourt and Philippeville
In Couvin, Walcourt and Philippeville, pupils from “Som temps-danse”, aged from 4 to 9 have kept on dancing thanks to online lessons from their teachers.
Once the class finishes, parents send videos to the teachers so that they can monitor their pupils’ progress.
Live-dj in Rockerill in Charleroi
This concert venue has been livestreaming together with some of its partner artists, especially DJ Globul, well known in the Charleroi area.
Get a feel for the factory ambiance with these music events from a distance.
Solidarity subscriptions to Charleroi’s Quai 10
The Quai 10 cinema is offering solidarity subscriptions. The principle? A non-personalised subscription comprising 6-euro cinema tickets, valid for an unlimited duration after confinement.
This initiative is a way of supporting the project through these difficult times
Virtual visits to the Domaine du Château de Seneffe
Every Friday lunchtime, the team from the Château’s domain organises a live interactive visit on Facebook.
This is a way to discover online the domain and the temporary exhibition “The Red Triangle” which covers the history of silversmiths
Photos from the archives of the Photography Museum in Mont-sur-Marchienne
“What if we used this extra time on our hands to plough through that dusty book lying forgotten on the bookshelves, or to listen to some music we haven’t heard in far too long, or rewatch that scene which left us speechless…? Given the opportunity we now have to take our time over things, let’s savour them and escape for a while…”. These comforting words from the team at the photography museum, especially active on their Facebook page, invite the public to rediscover the beauty that is all around us.
You can also watch the tutorials on their page on how to make a cute card or pop-up.
Activities for children at Charleroi’s BPS22
The Province of Hainaut’s Art Museum is inviting visitors to indulge in new artistic experiences online via their Facebook page. In particular, they are publishing works of art using screen overlays, whilst giving fans the opportunity to express their thoughts.
The museum is also releasing never-seen-before content such as interviews with artists, chronicles… and artistic educational materials for children.
Cultural centres are also adapting to the crisis
Many of them are still active on their Facebook pages with daily sharing of tips, activity ideas for children and adults, recipes and reading inspiration.
Sivry-Rance is also recommending “confinement tracks” to brighten up your day.
Other initiatives require more audience participation:
One of them is the cultural centre of Aiseau Presles which is asking citizens to share photos of the various ways in which people are keeping themselves busy, so as to create a large virtual album packed full of ideas.
In Fontaine l’Evêque, the cultural centre and the library have launched a challenge that is sure to appeal to the most creative minds: participants are asked to act out a scene from or the title of their favourite book, and then post either a photo or video of their masterpieces with the hashtag #livresenscène (books on stage).
The Couvin Cultural Centre has a weekly “coronart challenge”, with a different theme each week. Challengers are invited to let their imaginations run wild: paper collages using natural or recycled materials, prints, paintings, pencils, pastels… anything you have to hand!
Have a look at their Facebook pages or websites and see what original ideas are being dreamed up by l’Eden and Vecteur in Charleroi, the Action Sud cultural centre at Viroinval or that of Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont.
Obviously, this list of initiatives is not exhaustive.
Because “everything that degrades culture shortens the paths that lead to slavery” (Albert Camus), make the most of this time in confinement to (re)discover books, films, photos, music… And whilst waiting until our beloved cultural institutions can throw their doors wide open once more, many of them based in the Charleroi Metropolitan Area, we can do our part to support them from a distance.