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With its stage productions on hold due to COVID-19, The Atlanta Opera has turned its costume shop into a makeshift factory to craft medical masks for the Grady Health System. So, too, has the Alliance Theatre, which has canceled the rest of its 2020–21 season, and is making some 220 masks daily for Emory Healthcare and hospitals throughout Georgia.

The Alliance Theatre is closed and employees self-quarantining, so its 12 costume shop artists are making the masks from their homes.

Grady CEO John Haupert is an opera fan and supporter of The Atlanta Opera. Last week, Tomer Zvulun — the opera’s general and artistic director — reached out to Haupert with the idea of helping hospitals that are faced with a nationwide shortage of masks during the pandemic.

“This is a time of great need for the medical community and the community at large,” Zvulun said in a press release. “The question we ask ourselves is no longer, ‘How can we save a production?” Now it’s ‘How can we save lives?’”

The mask design is meant to cover N95 respirator masks and prolong their usable life. Joanna Schmink, the opera’s costume director, created a prototype early this week. Grady Hospital has provided operating room sheets for use as fabric for the masks.

See the video by Felipe Barral below, provided by The Atlanta Opera, for more details [Full disclosure: Barral is also a videographer for ArtsATL].

 

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