What Will be Left?

Kai Chochinov, 2021.

COVID-19 has had an incredible impact on theatre across the world. What will be left of the physical infrastructure as the cost to rent spaces, pay property taxes and maintain buildings greatly outpaces the income earned from free (or low priced) digital performances? More importantly, what will be left of the human infrastructure? In the image, the audience is shown in black and white, fading in and out of existence. Are they a ghost of audiences past? Will they be back? The financial impacts of COVID have been significant for many families.

Will theatre, a more expensive entertainment option, be something that is left behind? Of course, there is also theatre’s most important asset: the artists. Many have been on standby for too long, and now find themselves pursuing different opportunities for work and education. Will they return? In this image I use the element of contrast: contrast between the theatre before, during, and after the pandemic; contrast between the vibrantly coloured dilapidated setting and the faded black and white audience; and contrast between beauty and decay, as seen in the peeling ornate patterns on the walls, and the bright red of the scaffolding revealed in the ceiling. In this image I ask the viewer to consider the overall crucial question of what will be left of theatre when the pandemic is over?