Music Theatre International put out the following statement earlier today, to address growing concerns and fears about the disruptive impact COVID-19 is having on the live performance industry;
“The Show Must Go On!” Since the 19th century, this has been the rallying cry of producers, directors and performers across the country and around the world. The mantra reflects the theatre community’s commitment to persevere in the face of challenging circumstances and has been widely adopted by other industries as well. Since 1952, Music Theatre International (MTI) has been serving customers involved in all levels of theatre production (e.g., schools, community theatres, professional groups) who adhere to this philosophy. MTI itself makes every effort to satisfy its customers’ needs regardless of the circumstances. We take our responsibility very seriously to support your presentation of live theatre by licensing and delivering the scripts and scores used in the performance of tens of thousands of shows each year.
The current Coronavirus crisis has presented circumstances that are unprecedented in our lifetime. Like most people around the world, we at MTI have been monitoring news outlets and government sites in order to stay apprised of the situation. Being a global company, MTI has taken precautions at our multiple office locations in order to best protect our employees by following the recommendations of healthcare professionals, the Australian Government, and the corresponding agencies in other countries. We know that our customers have been working similarly to determine the best course of action in light of the specific circumstances in their communities.
Not surprisingly, several customers have contacted MTI to ask for advice regarding their upcoming productions. Notwithstanding the mantra stated above, it should go without saying that nothing is more important than the health and safety of your cast, crew, production team, audience and community. Whether due to the risks posed by the Coronavirus or any other cause, if people cannot safely perform a show or attend a performance, common sense dictates that they should not do so. Each community has been differently impacted and each producer, artistic director, principal, or teacher with decision-making authority must determine whether the show should proceed as scheduled or if it should be postponed until a later date. The ramifications of announcing a postponement may seem daunting, and at very least disappointing to many, but nothing is worth risking people’s health and safety. In some parts of this country, schools and universities have been closed and certain public events have been cancelled; elsewhere, it is “business as usual.” Assessing the situation with your colleagues, production team, board (if any) and all other stakeholders in your production will allow you to make the best decision possible.
Given the many factors that need to be considered, MTI is not in a position to make that decision for our customers. What MTI can do is respond to our customers’ needs as best we can. Our customer representatives are here to answer questions and, where necessary, process changes to existing licenses. (As with most industries, our call and email volume is up dramatically, so we do ask for your patience as we work to address everyone’s needs. We also ask that you hold off on inquiries and requests that are not time-sensitive). While there may be pre-existing conflicts or restrictions when rescheduling your performances, we will do what we can to minimize the impact on your organization and your production.
We are hopeful that the coming days will offer more clarity into the nature and scope of this situation. On a personal note, we at MTI consider our customers an extension of the MTI Family and we take enormous pride in the role we play for our customers and the authors we represent. We offer you our sincere wishes that you, your friends, and your family remain safe and healthy during this crisis.
Whether now or at a later date, the show must indeed go on and MTI will be here to help make your experience as smooth and memorable as possible.
Music Theatre International Australasia
President & CEO
Music Theatre International