The AFC Newsletter: May 2020 View this email in your browser.

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In This Issue:

  • Message from the Executive Director
  • We Are In This Together - Thank You
  • GhostLight Shines On While Theatre Stages are Dark
  • Luminato Festival Goes Virtual
  • Life in the Time of Corona(virus)
  • New Date: Big Swing Charity Golf Tournament 2020

Message from the Executive Director

Dear  ,

The pace of change in my world has been astonishing. In yours too, I bet.

Back in 2018, The AFC gave new hope to a record number of our entertainment industry colleagues in distress by providing over $706,000 in emergency financial aid over the course of that year. At the time that felt like a real milestone. Now it feels like ancient history.

Cut to the present day. In the ten weeks between March 13 and May 22, the amount of urgent assistance we’ve given to help the most vulnerable members of our industry totalled $788,000.

This fact is of far greater significance than a mere milestone. It’s a monument.

I saw a play in a Toronto theatre on the night of March 13, 2020. Had you told me then that my next opportunity to do so might not come until January 2021, would I have believed you? The added suggestion that, two days hence, you and I would participate in a worldwide event with historic consequences by staying home and sitting on our living room couches would have seemed fantastical.

Almost overnight, theatre stages went dark, film shoots ceased and the lives of many in our industry and beyond were disrupted. In many cases, irreparable damage has been done. Our current crisis has forced us to face isolation, difficulty accessing health care, job loss, financial uncertainty, mental health challenges, and so much more. Our society is being remade before our eyes.

To borrow an expression coined by one of my co-workers, my head is “surrounded by a forest of question marks”. What will the future look like for the people who depend on our help? What will "re-opening" mean for film and TV productions? For live performance? Will people in our community have opportunities to repair the financial and emotional damage they have suffered? Will The AFC be able to keep up with the need for our support as the pandemic and its consequences unfold?

So much is uncertain. But one thing I am certain of is that this is far from over, and that The AFC will provide a vital lifeline to many, many more people before it is.

What gives me hope at a time like this is the observation that we are adaptable, even to circumstances that would have been unimaginable just a few weeks ago.

And what brings me joy is the creativity and ingenuity that so many have shown as they have rallied to raise funds and to extend themselves in other ways in support of COVID-19 relief efforts. The drive to be there for each other has never been stronger.

We are beyond grateful for the overwhelming generosity of supporters like you – generosity that truly keeps the fire going and puts us in the position to help those who need it most. Thank you for staying connected, compassionate and in solidarity with each other and with us.

Our remarkable, resilient community has the power to get through this and come out stronger than ever. And we will keep doing everything we can to help make that happen.

Thank you for caring, 

David Hope

Executive Director

We Are In This Together - Thank You

We truly are in this together and it's so much more than a hashtag. Today - and always - we would like to thank our industry and our community.

The arts and entertainment community has been pivotal in helping us live through this crisis from its onset. From providing quality accompaniment for our isolation routines, advocating for the most vulnerable, and exploring new ways to create, to raising funds and making protective equipment - they have been outspoken and compassionate. 

The industry leaders and philanthropists have come together in strong support of those impacted by COVID-19. We are beyond grateful for the generous donations they have pledged to help our work carry on through this challenging time:

  • ACTRA Toronto
  • Aptus Benefits Inc.
  • Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation
  • Canadian Entertainment Industry Retirement Plan
  • DGC BC
  • DGC National
  • Granville Island Brewing
  • IATSE International
  • IATSE Local 212
  • IATSE Local 634
  • IATSE Local 667
  • IATSE Local 849
  • IATSE Local 856
  • IATSE Local 873
  • Netflix
  • Richard Rooney and Laura Dinner
  • UBCP/ACTRA
  • WarnerMedia
  • Writers Guild of Canada

Once again, we would like to thank every organization and every individual who has fundraised, offered to volunteer, shared information, tweeted and posted, and helped a friend or a stranger. THANK YOU

GhostLight Shines On While Theatre Stages Are Dark

My name is Graham Abbey and I have been fortunate to work as an actor, director and artistic director in this country for most of my life. I have also been a long-term supporter of The AFC and its invaluable service in providing a lifeline for so many of my colleagues in times of need. Our industry is certainly facing one of those right now as we adjust and realign ourselves in the face of COVID-19 and the post-pandemic world of performing arts.

As a response to our current social isolation and the reality of employment postponements and cancellations across our industry, we launched GhostLight, an online platform for mentorship and education in the arts, offering free classes and instruction from some of the top artists in the country to many young and mid-career artists who are facing immediate hardship and uncertain futures.

With these objectives in mind, it didn’t take us long to realize The AFC would be a natural partner for us in our shared mission of support and assistance for artists in this country, and we launched a GoFundMe campaign which will see one half of all proceeds going to The AFC in this vital time of need.

On May 8, we held our online launch event with our inaugural Friday Night at the GhostLight featuring Margaret Atwood, Adrienne Clarkson, Colin Mochrie, Torquil Campbell and Chilina Kennedy. The evening proved a great success in not only uniting our community across the country but in raising awareness for our mission and the important work of The AFC. In case you missed it we have provided some of the highlights of the evening here or you can watch the whole show on our website here.

If you are inspired by our efforts and are able to contribute, please visit our GoFundMe page – we would greatly appreciate any and all support in advancing our mission and the vital lifeline of The AFC in this uncertain time.

On behalf of the entire GhostLight team, thank you in advance for your support,

Graham Abbey

GhostLight CEO and Creative Director

Luminato Festival Goes Virtual

Luminato, Toronto's beloved international multi-arts festival is going virtual! The festival program will include 20 hours of free programming, 4 world premieres and 4 works created specifically for Luminato's first-ever virtual edition - all available to experience on luminatofestival.com and the festival's social media platforms from June 11-13.

“Audiences will experience a re-imagined Luminato this June. Our virtual offering includes selections from Luminato’s past, a taste of what would have been in this year’s originally programmed festival, and a sneak peek into the future: world premieres, theatre, film, singer/songwriters, local, national and Indigenous artists, all wrapped up with intense conversations, late night DJs and VJs, burlesque, special guests and more,” said Naomi Campbell, Luminato’s Artistic Director. “In Luminato’s new free interactive digital space audiences from all around the world can connect through art, performance and conversation.”

During the festival, Luminato will be encouraging donations to support Canadians affected by COVID-19. We are thrilled that The AFC is one of the charities that Luminato will be highlighting, along with Black Lives Matter Toronto, The Stop Community Food Centre, and True North Aid.

Above: Blast Theory, My One Demand, 2015. To be included in Luminato Festival Toronto: Virtual 2020, June 11 – 13. Originally presented at Luminato Festival Toronto 2015, with collaboration from The Patching Zone, Blast Theory, Translocal, Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) and Luminato Festival Toronto. Photo: Tanja Tiziana.

Life in the Time of Corona(virus)

Who knew we would need words like "lockdown", "isolation", "re-opening" and the like to describe our daily lives? Way to go, corona, really.

Here are some of the things that we have been excited and thankful for lately. Here's hoping they can help maintain focus in these tough times, even if just a little bit:

  • This list of mental health resources from Google - because mental health is health. 
  • This action from community pillar Glad Day Bookshop to support LGBTQ2S artists, performers and tip-based workers.
  • This entry in the CBC Arts' Pandemic Diaries from music professor Brian Fauteux on how the pandemic affects music arts and teaching.
  • This collection of films from the National Film Board to celebrate Asian Heritage Month.
  • This piece from Raja Feather Kelly for Dance Magazine that urges the establishment to ask the artists what they actually need.
  • This advocacy drive by the Canadian Actors' Equity Association (and others) to extend CERB.

New Date: Big Swing Charity Golf Tournament 2020

We've had to change the date of our annual Big Swing Golf Tournament to Saturday, August 29 due to the pandemic, so please save the new date!

The tournament will take place at the Royal Ontario Golf Club in Halton - more details and registration information to follow shortly. We very much hope we'll be able to have a glorious and safe day of golf in support of our industry's most vulnerable members. See you on the course!

The AFC is a charitable organization with a mission to help Canadian entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity, and ability to work.

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