Two weeks ago the Metropolitan Opera announced that it was cancelling its entire 2020/21 season. Today, the Broadway League announced that Broadway performances would remain suspended through the end of May 2021. Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, said,
With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so. We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again
The announcement effectively cancels the 2020/21 Broadway season leaving a question about what will happen with next year’s Tony Awards. More importantly is the question of what will happen to all of the artists and technicians who work on Broadway whose 39 weeks of extended unemployment benefits will run out in December of this year.
If you care about the future of the performing arts in America, contact your Senator and Representative and urge them to pass The Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258) which has been trapped in committee in the Senate since July 7th. Introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), it provides vital support for performing arts venues that have lost nearly 100% of their revenue since the pandemic began in March. The companion bill in the House (H.R. 7806) is led by Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Roger Williams (R-TX).
On May 26th, Actors’ Equity Association, usually just referred to as Equity, the union for theatre actors and stage managers across the country, recently announced that theater in America should not resume until there is fast, reliable testing for the novel coronavirus and widespread contact tracing.
Equity has hired Dr. David Michaels, former head of OSHA during the Obama Administration, to assist them with developing a list of conditions under which its members will return to work.
They are beginning with four core principles. “These four principles are the foundation for our continued work with Dr. Michaels,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association. “We intend to build out protocols that can be used by our employers and all of our colleagues to insure that everyone who works in the theatre has the safest workplace possible.” The four principles are:
- The epidemic must be under control, with effective testing, few new cases in the area and contact tracing.
- Individuals who may be infectious can be readily identified and isolated, with frequent, regular and accurate testing with speedy results.
- The way we audition, rehearse, perform and stage manage may need to change and the venues we work in may need to undergo changes in order to reduce the risk.
- Efforts to control COVID-19 exposure must be collaborative, involving Equity members, employers, the union and all others involved in the production of theatre. There must be collective buy-in and ongoing evaluation and improvement of health and safety practices.
You can read the press announcement on the Equity web site and an article in New York Times. An additional article in the Times talks to theatre owners and producers about when they expect to reopen. Unfortunately, most of them don’t see theatres being able to reopen this year in a way that is both responsible and profitable.
Over the past few weeks I’ve spoken to theatre managers, artistic directors, production coordinators, and theatrical equipment manufacturers. No one knows how they’re going to get through this. When will theatres be permitted to reopen? How long before audiences are comfortable returning to the theatre? How long can arts organizations continue without income? What’s going to happen to corporate, governmental and individual support if theatre companies aren’t presenting to the public? When will theater companies have the money to renovate, expand or buy new equipment?
So far 501(c)(3) organizations have been excluded from the COVID Relief. The Paycheck Protection Program only applies to 501(c)(3) organizations with 500 employees or more. I doubt if even Lincoln Center or the Kennedy Center have that many. The Emergency Injury Disaster Loan doesn’t include 501(c)(3) groups.
This is a terrifying time for artists and arts organizations, and if they’re going t exist after this crisis is over they need support.
Sign the Petitions, Please!
Covid-19 Federal Aid Package for the Live Events Industry is gaining momentum. It deals with issues from health insurance to business stabilization. This is a petition for us to support.
Tell Congress to include displaced entertainment workers in relief package
“Entertainment workers shouldn’t be collateral damage in the fight against COVID-19.” Speak up for them! This petition is sponsored by IATSE, The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
Due to growing concerns of COVID-19 in the lighting industry and the New York community, the Designers Lighting Forum of New York is postponing the LEDucation 2020 Trade Show and Conference that had been scheduled for March 17 – 18.
LEDucation is being rescheduled to August 18 – 19, 2020. I expect that our TM-30 Annex E seminar and demonstration room will be part of the rescheduled event.
LEDucation this year is on March 17 and 18 at the New York Hilton Midtown where our Jason Livingston be part of two presentations. The first, at 9 am on Tuesday morning with Wendy Luedtke of ETC, is a seminar called Specifying Color Rendering with TM-30’s New Annex E. The session presents the new ANSI/IES TM-30 Annexes E and F, which apply recent research to identify three color rendering design intents (Fidelity, Preference, and Vividness) and provides specifiers with TM-30 values to achieve them alone or in combination. Our goal is to increase awareness of Annexes E and F and to help attendees better understand their contents and use. The seminar is most appropriate for people with some prior knowledge of TM-30, although there will be a brief TM-30 overview for those who are new to the topic.
Then, on Wednesday, we’ll be joined by Jess Baker of Schuler Shook for a daylong demonstration of Annex E. In the TM-30 Demo Room visitors will experience an immersive mockup illuminated with a variety of light sources illustrating the Annex E design intents. The lighting demonstrations will be paired with TM-30 values to show how TM-30 can be used to select light sources for each intent. Visitors will experience sources that meet different levels of the IES TM-30 specification guidelines outlined in IES TM-30-18 Annex E. We’ll be presenting the demonstration on the hour and half hour from 9 am to 2 pm.
You can register to attend LEDucation here.