VANCOUVER -- From elaborate headdresses to hoop skirts, the Vancouver Opera costume shop is known for making a fancy frock or two.

But with large gatherings banned and shows cancelled, the organization made a shift.

Instead of sewing costumes, staff are making cloth face masks.

"Though our stages are dark, it doesn’t mean that we’re dark. We can keep working and we can help in any way that we can," said Vancouver Opera’s technical director Autumn Coppaway.

"We’ve shifted our focus from doing our normal production work into creating masks for those who are on the front lines still working."

They’re made of three layers of cotton material, and will be donated to front-line non-medical staff on the Downtown Eastside, starting with The Kettle Society.

Vancouver Opera’s general director Tom Wright said the goal is to make 1,000 masks using fabric in the costume shop, along with some that has been donated.

“We’ll see how that goes and we’ll probably make another thousand after that.”

This week, Vancouver Opera was scheduled to mount a production of “Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera,” based on the Pink Floyd album “The Wall.”

The show was cancelled six weeks ago when public health officials ordered an end to large public gatherings to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Wright said Vancouver Opera is looking forward to getting back onstage, and to a time when it’s safe to “embrace one another,” but until then, the organization is looking to find ways to give back to the community in safe manner.