In March 2020, everything changed. Organizations were forced to be creative, and despite the hardships, there were benefits. Online platforms offered an opportunity to connect with audiences regardless of the distance, and arts organizations got inventive by generating virtual programming that sustained both audiences and artists. Live performances and exhibitions were presented in new, sometimes untraditional spaces, creating fresh experiences for the participants. Many organizations that were forced to change their practice report that their innovations opened up new creative possibilities that will last beyond the pandemic.
To remove the cost barrier that might keep people from attending this year's festival, the Raleigh-based National Women's Theatre Festival (NWTF) offered flexible ticket-payment options. In the lead-up to this year’s 10-day festival, which took place from February 17-27, we talked with Abby Davis, the festival’s director of communications and content strategy, about their decision to offer this option to their patrons.
Art has always been an essential part of how we move through life with enjoyment, and that became particularly evident during the pandemic. Good music, movies, television shows, books, and podcasts helped keep us sane when we were feeling isolated and exhausted. Inevitably, the artists who make this work were experiencing duress, too.