When I first moved to Tucson almost three years ago, I had no idea how lucky I was to be entering into a community that is so full of art, from the murals that line many of our streets to the vibrant DIY music scene. The performing arts here in particular had me excited—before I settled on studying journalism, I spent a year in college studying musical theater. So the magic that happens when the lights go down and the curtain goes up have always had a special place in my heart.
I finish writing City Week about a week in advance, so I had a version prepared detailing just a sampling of the huge variety of events that were going to happen this week. Just like every week, many of the events were hosted by the local performing arts nonprofits which keep Tucson thriving, happy and full of art. But right now, many of these organizations have stepped back to serve the bigger goal of keeping Tucson safe, by cancelling events and performances to prevent the spread of coronavirus. They need the community's support now more than ever.
If you are able, this is a great time to make a donation to one or more of the organizations listed below. This list—like City Week itself—is by no means exhaustive. There are so, so many excellent local arts organizations, and they could all use our help right now. Of course, now is a good time to help whoever you can, however you can. But if the local arts community has brightened your life the way it has mine, it just might be one route to consider. Let's reflect on this piece of wisdom from Todd London's The Art of Theatre (which the brilliant Rogue Theatre Company has posted to its website) and help make sure these local orgs come through none-the-worse:
"We are all keepers of the spirit of theatre—from the artists who identify and articulate our core human impulses, to the administrators who make homes for art; from the trustees who secure those homes and create the bonds between artists and the larger community, to the audiences, without whom there can be nothing called theatre. Sometimes shouldering the responsibility for this most consistently endangered, ever-ephemeral endeavor can feel like carrying burning embers wrapped in leaves through a rainforest. If the necessary spark goes out, how will we light the fire around which we gather, night after night, place after place? That spark is what we have; it's the art of the theatre, your theatre, any theatre. And so we carry and protect it, fan it to flame, watch it die down to a faint glow, wrap it up and carry it again, always hopeful, always together."
Arizona Theatre Company. After the opening night of The Legend of Georgia McBride last weekend, ATC shut down the production, and all others in Tucson and Phoenix through the end of the month. If you have a ticket to a canceled show, you should be hearing from them (or have already heard from them) about details, but you can also donate the cost of the ticket to ATC or transfer it to a future production by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you just want to make a regular donation to this company that brings outstanding sets, technical design and performances to town, visit arizonatheatre.org.
True Concord Voices & Orchestra. This Grammy-winning ensemble has a simple vision: "A world where the experience of True Concord uplifts the human spirit." While they've had to cancel their Bach B-Minor Mass this March, you can either keep your ticket for the rescheduled performance, exchange it for a ticket to another show or donate the cost of the ticket. While you listen to the monumental B-Minor Mass on YouTube to soothe your troubled nerves, learn more about how you can support True Concord at trueconcord.org.
Arizona Friends of Chamber Music. AFCM has cancelled all concerts through April 3, at the time of this writing, but check their website for more information. Committed to helping classical and contemporary chamber music thrive in the Old Pueblo, the organization has been putting on shows and educational offerings for more than 70 years. They can't operate without financial contributions from the community, so visit arizonachambermusic.org to learn more.
Live Theatre Workshop. LTW has cancelled performances, classes and showcases for the rest of the month, and postponed the opening of The Old Ball Game until May 17. As with ATC, they'd welcome the donation of your ticket, or the chance to transfer the balance to a gift card, which can be used at any of their future shows. If you just want to support this resource for inclusive, accessible and affordable professional theatre and theatre education, you can support them by making a donation at livetheatreworkshop.org.
Rogue Theatre. The Rogue Theatre, known for putting on thoughtful productions of truly kickass scripts, cancelled its remaining productions of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, and the March 22 staged reading of The House of Bernarda Alba. Consider making your existing ticket purchase a donation to the theatre, or call them at 551-2053 if you'd like a refund, or to transfer the value of the ticket to another production. To support everything from royalties, publicity, cast and crew salaries, rehearsal space, webpage hosting and so much more, visit theroguetheatre.org.
Unscrewed Theater Company. These folks have temporarily cancelled scheduled performances, and you can stay updated by checking their Facebook page. And if you need some laughs while you're social distancing your days away, their YouTube channel may be just what the doctor ordered. If you want to support their mission of brining affordable, live improvisational theater to Southern Arizona (and thank them for all the laughs!) visit unscrewedtheater.org.
Invisible Theatre Company. Invisible Theatre Company has postponed the performance of From Brooklyn to Broadway until May. (If you bought a ticket for the show, it's good for the new date, unless the theater hears otherwise from you.) Started back in 1971 as an arena for local playwrights, it's grown in scope and mission since then to support both new playwrights, adaptations of classics, and Off-Broadway plays and musicals. Support 'em at invisibletheatre.com.
Arizona Rose Theatre. This local company, which been "growing in the desert" since its founding in 1986, has suspended public activities until further notice. A few years back, they launched the Arizona Rose Arts Organization, with a mission to produce, develop, educate and support all art forms—including both brand new productions and beloved classics. To support them, visit arizonarosetheatre.com.
- Dancing in the Streets Dance Party with DayJob
Dancing in the Streets AZ. Geared primarily toward at-risk youth, this organization is committed to using the power of dance to break down cultural barriers and contribute the region's artistic development. Their evening and summer dance activities give young people an opportunity to learn not only dance moves, but life and social skills. They've closed the studio for the time being and could use your support. Donate at ditsaz.org.
Arizona Early Music Society. AEMS focuses on promoting "early music," which refers both to European music written before 1800 and an approach to performing, including using period instruments. Their performances bring periods of history back to life through original instruments, manuscripts and first editions of music. So far, they've canceled a March performance by Trio Settecento focusing on Italian music. You can support this unique local group at azearlymusic.org.
Civic Orchestra of Tucson. It's been more than 40 years since George Schwartz founded COT so that he and his pals could play classical music together, and since then, this group has grown into a 75-piece orchestra which puts on free concerts for Tucson and Southern Arizona residents. The organization has cancelled its March concerts, but you can support them at cotmusic.org.
Groundworks. This brand-new nonprofit is a youth-driven community arts space in Tucson, run by a group of artists, musicians and educators. They're about to start offering arts and music classes to youth, as well as to provide a live music venue and a space to build a network of community artists in Tucson. Learn more about how to support them at groundworkstucson.com. ■