Our theatre field has always shined brightest during our darkest days. After 9/11, theatres served as places of community healing. During the worst of the HIV/AIDS crisis, theatre artists acted up against a hostile and indifferent government, saving lives. After the Parkland massacre, theatre kids led a movement to end gun violence. The resident theatre movement itself was born alongside the Civil Rights movement, with theatres like the Free Southern Theatre embodying their inextricable connection.
With the COVID-19 global pandemic, dark days are here again, and in spite of the closures of many of our theatres, we know our field will find a way to shine our essential light. In many ways, these closures are themselves a painful yet shining act of solidarity, ensuring we play our part to flatten the curve and lessen the harm of this outbreak--especially for those who are most vulnerable. Whether you’re one of the theatres making those difficult decisions now, or planning for what decisions may come, TCG is here with you and we will get through this storm together.
Here’s what we’ve done and will do:
- We are advocating at the federal level to ensure that any relief efforts include theatres and theatre artists--please contact your representatives today.
- We’re studying the impact of the outbreak to better serve you and make the case for increased support to the field--please fill out this short survey ASAP.
- Last week, more than 500 theatre people turned into our webinar, Coronavirus Preparedness for Theatres, Thank you to everyone who attended, and special thanks to our presenters for bringing their deep experience on such short notice. Paul Christy, the acting executive director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, has now shared the risk assessment framework he presented. We’re looking toward the possibility of another webinar with updated information soon.
- We’re launching a community on the TCG Circle for theatre leaders to share tools and resources for navigating risk assessment and mitigation, cancellations, and more. Please email Corinna Schulenburg if you’d like to join.
- We’re investigating ways theatre might connect with audiences in new ways that support social distancing while still feeding our hunger for art and connection.
- We’re considering how our own programming and services, including the National Conference, can remain as accessible as possible. We’ve cancelled the book event Tracy Letts & Will Eno in Conversation and our staff is now working remotely.
TCG is not alone in doing this work. Our sister service organizations across the country are also taking powerful steps to support this field we love, and individuals are organizing resources for freelancers and teaching artists, who are particularly vulnerable.
And so we are with you in feeling the grief over the shows that have been and will be cancelled, and we are with you in the uncertainty that at times can feel overwhelming. But we are also with you in preparedness, in solidarity, in creative solutions, and in collective action. Let us know what you need, even if it’s just to talk with someone. I am here for you. We are here with you.