Artist rendering of the newly minted BMO Theatre Centre

Vancouver Opera isn’t the only local arts organization stepping up to help out during the current health crisis. The Arts Club Theatre Company is doing its part too.

While the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre may remain dark, the Arts Club’s rehearsal studio space and costume shop at the venue have found new uses as part of the COVID-19 response efforts.

Through May, the open-source medical technology initiative COSMIC Medical will use an Arts Club studio at the Centre without cost to build and showcase their novel design solutions.

“At this time, with the temporary closure of our theatres, we couldn’t think of a better use for our facility than to provide free space to the COSMIC team,” says artistic director Ashlie Corcoran in the release. “As a Vancouver theatre company dedicated to the development of local storytelling and voices, collaborating with COSMIC to showcase their exciting medical innovations is a perfect way for us to continue to celebrate local talent.”

COSMIC, which is an acronym for Collective Open Source Medical Innovations for COVID-19, sought out the Arts Club’s studio because of its capacity to support media and videography. The group plans to use the space to demonstrate its products, including a clinical respiratory support system designed as a low-cost approach to providing care for COVID-19 patients.

“When a crisis brings together collaboration, creativity, and commitment at this speed, it brings out the best in us all,” said Dr. Christopher Nguan, co-founder of COSMIC Medical. “COSMIC not only has an overarching mission to prepare for COVID-19 and future pandemics, but we are challenging one another and collaborating with groups like the Arts Club to come up with creative solutions to improve health outcomes and, we hope, save lives.”

The venue’s costume shop has also found a new use during the pandemic with staff from the costume and production departments sewing masks and scrubs caps for Protect Our Frontline Vancouver. The mission of this community group is to build a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to support frontline workers and healthcare professionals in Vancouver.

To date, the Arts Club has sewn 110 scrub caps and over 300 masks to contribute to this initiative. Donation recipients include the Vancouver General Hospital and the Lakeview Care Home in East Vancouver.

“With the ability to hire back most full-time employees through the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program, it has been inspiring to see our staff come together for the good of our community and provide these services to care facilities in need,” says executive director Peter Cathie White.