If you''re craving a dose of culture amid COVID restrictions, the National Theater and Concert Hall has you covered. With performance halls closed, the institution has launched an online arts and culture program featuring videos, courses and podcasts. The program hopes to keep artists and performances relevant, and bring joy to audiences cooped up at home. Our very own Stephany Yang spoke to organizers and artists to learn more about this online cultural program.

The National Theater and Concert Hall has been hit hard by the pandemic. Since the start of the Level 3 COVID alert, all performances have been canceled or postponed. But now, the performance arts center has made the leap to the virtual world, so that the public can continue supporting artists.

Liu Yi-juu
National Theater and Concert Hall
The biggest impact that the pandemic has had on the National Theater and Concert Hall is that the performance venues have had to close. As a result, all our performances have been canceled or postponed. But since people can’t go to performance venues, that has challenged us to consider other performance forms and possibilities. We thought of ways to put on shows without a physical stage, so that art can stay popular and influential. This is probably the biggest challenge that the National Theater and Concert Hall and other large performance halls around the world have had to face.

The National Theater and Concert Hall has launched an array of arts activities and events online. They include videos, live broadcasts, and online courses.

Liu Yi-juu
National Theater and Concert Hall
The National Theater and Concert Hall has launched the "When We Are Home" program. The epidemic has closed theaters to audiences, but we believe in the healing and emotional power of art, which is especially important at this critical juncture. So we asked a lot of artists and art groups to join us in this. They include the Bulareyaung Dance Company and the Our Theatre troupe, among others. We expect to create more than 20 pieces of content, including art courses, activities, documentaries, podcasts and so on. We’ll upload all this to the internet, so that people at home can be in close quarters with the art world while at home.

The first video of the series was created by Taitung’s Bulareyaung Dance Company. Their video offers a humorous glimpse into the daily lives of its dancers in the pandemic. The video shows the dancers cooking, painting and even pretend-fishing at home. The artistic director of the dance troupe, Bulareyaung Pagarlava, says he hopes the video will inspire others to stay positive.

Bulareyaung Pagarlava
Bulareyaung Dance Company
This epidemic has affected all industries, but of course it’s been worse for arts and culture. Usually, we have to prepare for half a year before a performance, or up to one year. But we don’t have any shows now, and we’ll probably not be able to carry on with performances immediately after restrictions are lifted. It’s going to be a long period of work. We don’t know when our next performance will be, so of course we are worried. Besides applying for the relief schemes, our dance company has to look for new possibilities. Our troupe has always offered a unique style to people. That is, a little humor and a little nonsense. We’re always giving off good vibes. So now that we are all in our own homes, what can we do? That’s how we came up with the video. I think that the main point of the video is to remind us that no matter how tough life is, we all have to find things that make us happy.

The National Theater and Concert Hall will post new videos on its YouTube channel every week. It hopes that with its online events, the public will be able to stay in touch with their artistic side without having to step outside.