Eisteddfod continues through challenge

September 10, 2021 BY

Stage time: The Arts for All section offers a platform for performers of all abilities, showcasing entrants like the Ballarat Specialist School. Photo: FILE

THE Royal South Street Eisteddfod has begun for 2021.

Vocal solo performers have taken to a virtual stage in lockdown, with the Arts for All competition for people with disabilities set to run in the same way.

RSSS chair Peter Zala said although the pandemic has once again impacted the annual event, entry numbers and their quality have still been impressive from performers Zooming in.

“We’ve had very strong entries in the vocal solos, as we have in Arts for All. More than we had in 2019,” he said.

The choral, debating, school orchestra and bands competitions have been completely cancelled for 2021 as groups have not had the capacity to rehearse together.

But the Eisteddfod’s main drawcards, the dancing and calisthenics competitions have been postponed to November.

“If at that time Melbourne is still in lockdown and country Victoria isn’t, we will run a regional competition only. That’s our plan B,” Mr Zala said.

The RSSS dance competition has been postponed to November. Photo: SUPPLIED

The same would be applied to the piano competitions postponed to late-September, and speech and drama, which has been postponed to late-October or November.

The prestigious Chopin Competition has been moved to October, and the Victorian Band Championships and the aria event have been postponed to November.

“Our Herald Sun Aria entries are well up on 2019, and the senior Chopin entries have doubled on 2019. There’s so much enthusiasm from those who have entered,” Mr Zala said.

“They haven’t been on the stage much, if at all, in the last 18 months and they’re desperate to strut their stuff.

“Audiences are also mad-keen to get back into theatres, so we want to please our competitors and provide the public with some entertainment in these trying COVID times.”

The Eisteddford is marking 130 years since it first launched in 1891. The annual competition didn’t go ahead for three years during World War Two, and in 1953, when the State Government requested it be cancelled due to the polio epidemic.

“There is a precedent for a regional-only competition, so if we need to go to our plan Bs, we will,” Mr Zala said.

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