Monday, March 16, 2020

As our world, our nation and our region face a major health threat, it falls upon us as a community to adopt measures that will both foster the protection of those who work and "play" in Metro St. Louis community theatre and ultimately allow AFL to continue our charitable mission of service and recognition once the threat passes.

It is clear that this past weekend marked a widespread tipping point in the thinking about how fast the COVID-19 crisis is escalating and how it will continue to do so, and therefore what measures need to be taken immediately. The pandemic will continue to spread and it is critical that the rate of infection be slowed so that our region's medical care facilities are not taxed beyond their capacity. AFL must do its small part to support this effort.

To this end, I am hereby suspending all public activities of the Arts For Life organization effective today until at least May 1, 2020. This includes all judging activities of the Theatre Recognition Guild (TRG). The Theatre Mask Awards Ceremony has been rescheduled for July 18th. The Best Performance Awards are not yet affected by this suspension as they are scheduled to take place in mid-June. We will continue to base our decisions on the best information available in this rapid evolving situation, recognizing the need for timely notifications. All of this uncertainty poses challenges, and we will endeavor to communicate about our plans and share decisions promptly and transparently.

It is apparent most shows scheduled before May 1st would likely not be allowed to be open anyway given the restrictions on event/gathering sizes put in place by local authorities this weekend. We ask that all participating groups keep us apprised as to their individual decisions regarding cancellations and/or postponements as soon as possible. We know that the various licensing houses (MTI, Concord and others) are are offering generous low- and no-penalty options for groups to either postpone and/or cancel productions. Please check with your respective licensors.

I am incredibly grateful to all of our constituencies - the board, judges, participating groups, audience members and donors - for their commitment to AFL and their engagement and unwavering support of our local theatre community during these uncertain times. We know that all of you are confronting the COVID-19 pandemic and are directly impacted, as travel is limited, schools are closing, events/gatherings are canceled, and you are forced into social distancing isolation. Many families and businesses, including our participating theaters, will suffer as the result of this double-barreled threat to health AND to economic activity.

These are unprecedented circumstances for all of us. We are uplifted as we address the challenges of the pandemic by the values and commitment of our community, our belief in our mission, and our undiminished optimism regarding AFL being able to strongly move forward once this incredibly trying time passes.

I encourage you all to stay safe and heed all precautions. With warmest regards and gratitude,

Mary McCreight
President, Arts For Life

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About Us

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ARTS FOR LIFE is a local not-for-profit Arts organization dedicated to the healing power of the Arts through its work with youth, the underserved and the community.  

St. Louis is an amazing city, especially for the Arts. There are over sixty theater companies at home here, a third of which are community theater. As we watch music education and theatre programs rapidly die in our schools, the need to keep community theatre alive is more important now, than ever. ARTS FOR LIFE, with the goal of “Making A Dramatic Difference”, is passionate about the healing power of the performing arts, and is proud to salute, support, and serve the theatre groups in the Metro-St. Louis area. ARTS FOR LIFE is dedicated to promoting public awareness of local community theatre, encouraging excellence in the arts, and acknowledging the incredible people who are a part of it. ARTS FOR LIFE is also committed to supporting charitable programs in helping children, the under-served, and the community. 

Each year, ARTS FOR LIFE conducts, The Best Performance Awards for community musical theater and the Theatre Mask Awards for community plays. These events recognize the incredible talent we have in St. Louis community theater, and honor the passion and dedication of those who build this amazing and unique theatrical community.