Applause can mean many things.
It’s a way to show enjoyment and approval. At times, it can signify support. A round of applause can even be an expression of gratitude.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 playbill meant the sound of applause that was a regular feature of our arts scene was silenced for far too long.
There were no performances, no concerts, no opening nights, no curtain calls, no red carpets. A shining part of our cultural fabric was forced to go dark.
There was nothing to applaud. Instead, there were only growing concerns about whether the shows would ever go on again after the pandemic.
Today, there is reason to applaud again. The virtual performances that were a way to weather the viral storm have given way to live shows that remind of us what life was like before COVID-19.
But challenges remain for our artists, playwrights, actors, musicians, dancers and everyone else involved in this key cultural sector.
To help them meet those challenges so they can emerge from COVID-19 as strong as possible, the Free Press is launching an initiative we hope you will applaud.
As the only media outlet in the province with an experienced team of writers and reviewers focused on arts coverage, we are making that authoritative journalism free for all to read. In doing so, everyone everywhere can access previews, reviews and features documenting the return of normal arts programming in our city and province. Read our arts and culture coverage here.
We have also launched a new free weekly newsletter — titled Applause — to deliver that arts coverage straight to your inbox so you’ll always know what’s going on and what you don’t want to miss. Sign up for Applause here.
The Free Press relies on the same business model as those running our theatres, galleries, dance companies, orchestras and operas. We all depend on subscribers to help pay for what we create. The more subscribers, the stronger we will all be.
Moving our arts content from behind our paywall will have an impact on readership revenue. But we think that’s a price well worth paying to help our community that has given so much to enrich all our lives and is so deserving of applause, now more than ever.
Paul Samyn has been part of the Free Press newsroom for more than a quarter century, working his way up after starting as a rookie reporter in 1988.