Give the gift of returning to the theatre

Pierre Thys

Dear audience members,

We turn to you as we approach the opening of our season.We hope you are in great shape and ready to return to the Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles and the performances we are presenting!You know that the health situation remains uncertain and worrying to this day, particularly in the Brussels Region with, among other things, the circulation of variants which could once again threaten our activities and the businesses which contribute to our sector – businesses which have already heavily been impacted.

A return to lockdown, or stricter measures, would be disastrous for artists, technicians, and for the entire community of audiences.Yes, we remain convinced that culture is essential and that it must be able to be fully redeployed and without delay at the heart of Society.With our Brussels colleagues, we have spent much time considering the position to adopt regarding the reception of the public in our rooms and we arrived at the common and concerted decision to continue, until the end of the month of September, the measures in force:

That means, the occupancy of our rooms at 100% of the CIRM (respect for barrier gestures), which represents a limited occupation of our gauges (70%) with compulsory wearing of the mask and social distancing between the bubbles.

From the 5 October, we have decided to apply the CST (Covid Safe Ticket).

By choosing this option, our primary motivation is to be able to once again offer you the pleasure of coming back to the theatre and to be able to (re-)live a real moment of communion both with the artists and with other spectators. These are the constraints of masking and so-called “social” distancing. Not to mention the actors, dancers, musicians and groups of artists for whom it is much more rewarding to play in front of an unmasked audience in a full hall. Indeed, our rooms were hopelessly empty or at the very least scattered since the beginning of this crisis: either because of outright cancellations, or because of the sanitary measures practiced (reduced gauge, invalidation of seats between the bubbles, one row out of two occupied for distancing, etc.).At the same time, we will be particularly attentive to put in place specific solutions for the school public, aware of the low vaccination rate of this group and consequently of the unacceptable exclusion which the application of the CST to this public - already so weakened and impacted - would imply.

The CST is currently the only possibility to continue our activities with gauges which correspond to the capacity of our rooms and, en fin, with the fewest restrictions and constraints possible for everyone. In view of these elements, this solution appears to us to be the most appropriate for our institution. It also allows us to rediscover the very essence of living art, scorned and despised for too long now: the meeting of an artist and their audience.Note that this is not an ideological stand on our part on the issue of vaccination or anything else. On the contrary, we do everything possible to preserve our activities as well as the pleasure of our spectators, without any stigma.We wish you an excellent return to the theatre and look forward to welcoming you to the Théâtre National.

 

Pierre Thys
General and artistic director