Vancouver Opera

Vancouver Opera is mobilizing to answer the public need for non-surgical grade masks via its in-house costume shop. Since the season has been cancelled, designers are transitioning from creating stage costumes and working backstage to building masks for the community.  

At this time wearing a mask is a measure that can help protect those around you from COVID-19 and reduce your exposure to respiratory droplets.

Vancouver Opera face masks

“We have been hearing about workers in essential and vulnerable positions who are unable to access masks,” said Tom Wright, Vancouver Opera General Director. “Vancouver Opera was eager to find a way to help those with a need. Our goal is to get these into the hands of those who need them as quickly as possible. Our employees began to research ways they could help which include how to build non-surgical grade masks. We found most of the resources needed were already here in our costume shop.”

Vancouver Opera face masks

The charitable program is being led by Autumn Coppaway, Vancouver Opera Technical Director, and Parvin Mirhady, Head of Costumes. Together, they are ensuring that all steps of the project are being handled with proper physical distancing and hygiene. Once materials are dropped off to members of the sewing team, the completed masks are picked up and delivered directly to organizations by Autumn Coppaway. 

We, as artists, are so diverse and passionate because we expose the greatest and weakest of humanity. In these moments of darkness, art reminds us that we each can be that light. Though our stages are dark, our hearts and spirits are not, and we still have stories to tell. And this is our story and Vancouver Opera’s small contribution. – Autumn Coppaway

Using a prototype and working from home, costumers use natural fabric such as cotton or silk, fabric interfacing, elastics and cotton thread to create masks. As anyone could be an asymptomatic carrier, these masks assist with filtration and coverage in a move towards flattening the curve.

Vancouver Opera face masks

With established long-standing relationships, Vancouver Opera will be donating non-surgical grade masks to community organizations including The Kettle Society. Vancouver Opera aims to create as many non-surgical masks as they are able. To help support this effort, donations may be made online. A suggested $25 donation helps to provide five masks to those in need; $100 provides 25 masks.

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