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Theatres and Live Music Venues in Toronto Went Dark: Now They Reopen (Photos by Paul Flynn)

It’s an exciting time for concert goers and fans of live theatre as this month we collectively emerge from the dark and into the light of live performance.

Of course, with provincial mandates in place, you will need to bring your mask and provide proof of vaccination, but you will be able to revisit those favourite Toronto nightclub haunts, musical theatre spots and other places where crowds of people were prohibited from gathering indoors.

The 20 months since March 2020 has been a long slog. Many performers, actors, directors, front of house workers, caterers, and cleaners were out of work. The entertainment business harder hit in many ways than retail and hospitality/tourism.

Full venue attendance returns as Covid holds

According to the Toronto Star: “With COVID-19 cases holding steady in Ontario, and the provincial government allowing full capacity for music venues and event spaces as of Nov. 15, concerts and other live events are happening once again, slowly creeping up to pre-pandemic levels. Venues such as the Scotiabank Arena are mandating all guests 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated before attending events.”

Theatre Returns to the Big Stages in Toronto

Mirvish Productions returns with a super star schedule, they announced a lineup of productions for the upcoming season at the Royal Alexandra, Princess of Wales, Ed Mirvish and CAA theatres. Mirvish has shows planned for fall of this year and 2022/2023.

Crowd favourite, Come from Away returns in December 7, 2021. This award-winning Canadian show about the events of 9-11 and their impact on a small town in Newfoundland, returns to the same stage it occupied in spring 2020: the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

Other big shows return, including Hamilton, which was stopped part way through its run in Toronto in 2020. It returns for February 2023.

The Return of Live Music to Danforth Music Hall and Other Venues

Live music has been limited during the pandemic to parks, street corners and other outdoor spots sprinkled around town. That’s changing immediately however.

There are hundreds of shows listed this month, at places like Opera House, The Phoenix, Velvet Underground and dozens more. Do you fancy a rocking night out with lengendary Gwar or Nitzer Ebb? They are coming soon! (Gwar Monday 08 November 2021, Nitzer Ebb Friday 12 November 2021).

I don’t get out to many shows. One of the last was Billy Bragg at Danforth Music Hall on May 3, 2013. But even I feel the vibe. I could imagine going into a small bar or club for a short set and enjoying a beer with a blues band. That would be a treat!

How about you? Do you plan to go out and see a show or revisit a place to take in live music or see a performance? Let us know in the comments.

“Shuttered Toronto”: Photos of the Venues that Went Dark (by Paul Flynn)

Paul Flynn is a Toronto area photographer and video editor who wanted to connect his photography with the pandemic and pay tribute to the live event business. Paul says: “It’s just something I wanted to do to document part of an industry hit hard by the pandemic.

In his posts he describes the images as “Shuttered Series: Showcasing some of Toronto’s once vibrant theatre and music scenes. All photos taken during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Five Venues featured:

  • Royal Alexandra
  • Danforth Music Hall
  • Roy Thomson Hall
  • El Mocambo
  • Eglinton Grand

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Article by Mike Simpson

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