Quebec gives $50M to theatres, artists amid second wave closures

Funds will be granted from now until March 31, 2021 and will be divided among more than 500 venues and artists, the provincial government says.

Funds will be divided among more than 500 venues and artists, government says

The new funding for the cultural sector comes on top of what Quebec Premier François Legault and Culture Minister Nathalie Roy announced last June. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The Quebec government will be providing an additional $50 million in grants to theatres and their employees across the province, Premier François Legault and Culture Minister Nathalie Roy announced Friday.

The funds will be distributed among show runners, technical crews, staff and artists in all regions. 

The latest announcement comes after theatres in red zones, including greater Montreal, the Quebec City area, and the Chaudière-Appalaches region were forced to shut down until at least Oct. 28, as the province faces a surge in COVID-19 cases.

"I know it's tough for our artists right now but we have no choice. We need to reduce our social contacts. It's a question of life or death," Legault said. 

He said shutting down theatres in the province's red zones was important since it's an activity that involves prolonged contact between people. 

 The $50 million will go toward helping the venues refund ticket prices and will be doled out from now until March 31, 2021. This funding is in addition to the $400 million the government announced for the cultural sector last June.

The funds will also go toward compensating show runners for a portion of their production costs on cancelled shows. 

Music and theatre venues will be able to receive up to the equivalent of 75 per cent of lost revenue. The funds granted may also change depending on what limits public health officials impose on the venues over the coming months, the government said. 

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