A version of this article originally ran October 15, 2020, following the announcement of the Tony Award nominations.
It's been a year since theatres on Broadway last opened their doors to welcome audiences. Originally seen as a small obstacle, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly ballooned into one of the greatest challenges the arts industry ever experienced.
Millions of arts workers continue to face unemployment and there are scarce opportunities to hone their craft. With Broadway shutdown scheduled to last until at least June 2021 (and likely longer), theatre fans have the opportunity to step up and help ensure Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, and local theatres are still standing when the time comes for the curtain to rise again.
There are plenty of ways to contribute—from dollars to activism and artistry. So check out some first steps below, and make a pledge to support the cause as we stand in solidarity on the anniversary of the shutdown.
With a high proportion of arts groups supported by grants and loans, the government is a major player in keeping the sector alive. Be An #ArtsHero has emerged as a leading campaign, with letters calling on the new administration to create a Department of Arts and Culture. The group is also focused on passing the DAWN (Defend Arts Workers Now) Act, which would allocate $43.85 billion to the arts and culture sector. To support the cause, you can sign a petition, call your senator, write a letter, donate, or even buy a case of beer. For more information, visit BeAnArtsHero.com.
Black Lives Matter
In June 2020, Playbill released a guide on how we can all support Black people in the fight against policy brutality, systemic racism, and oppression in America. On a micro-level, Black Lives Matter stirred something in the theatre community to change the predominately white institutions that currently serve as gatekeepers. Click here to read our starter guide, which has been updated with a number of Black-run theatre organizations to support.
Have the funds, but not sure where to donate? Playbill put together a list of organizations in May that artists had highlighted since the start of the shutdown. It’s now been updated with the most current information. No amount is too small.