Theatre is about human connection … that once in a lifetime moment of exchange between actor and audience. Simply, that’s what makes the COVID-19 pandemic so very difficult, particularly for our industry, because it has deprived that exchange which inspires our work and stirs our beings. SETC wishes everyone across the industry the very best of luck during this unprecedented, challenging time. We are standing by to do all that we can to support recovery. In the meantime, as we hold our breath and wait for the storm to pass, we have put together a list of suggestions and resources to help. We welcome all to share your ideas.
A Collaboration Between the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University and the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Americans for the Arts
- Americans for the Arts Resource and Response Center
- Corona Virus Impact Study Survey
- Daily office hours M-F, 11:00am – 12:00pm ET on Zoom – to better help you to navigate the complex web of funding opportunities and deadlines related to the $3.2 trillion federal aid package in the CARES Act.
- National Arts Action Digital Summit
BeatByBeat Press – Distance Teaching Resources – Bonus: They are currently working on the world’s first children’s musical specifically written to be rehearsed and performed remotely.
#GreenQuarentine – A series of webinars with Broadway Green
TYA@Home – a weekly roundup of virtual performances for young audiences, online education programs, and digital content—offered during the COVID-19 crisis while children can’t physically visit the theatre, the rehearsal room, or the classroom.
Theatre Communications Group – Corona Virus Preparedness and Impact Report (March 2020)
The Consortium – Facebook group working on collaborative approaches for online teaching in the theatrical discipline.
Theatre Education Distance Learning (Resource Sharing and Support Network) – Facebook group intended to serve as a resource and support network for theatre educators transitioning to distance learning.
Online Acting Teaching Group – A forum for discussion of best approaches to online teaching of acting, voice, and movement.
Technical Theater Educators – Dedicated to the teaching of technical theater (at all levels) as a course of study and a set of invaluable life skills. Lots of discussion about the current state of tech education during the pandemic.
AACT – Community Theatre focused COVID response groups
Women’s Theatre Festival – Virtual Play Reading Book Club
Backstage Learning -A Facebook group to post all the free online training and free resources available so you can find it all in one place.
Theatrical Rights Worldwide – TRW is offering, at no cost, their entire digital script perusal library. Every title, every show is now available to you free of charge.
Imagined Theatres – Call for papers: Issue #4 Emergency
Royal Shakespeare Center – Teacher Resources
Playscripts Livescreen Theatre Collection – brand new titles written specifically to be performed in a virtual setting.
Digital Theatre+ – A Midsummer Night’s Dream Resource Packet
Light Labs & Education Tools – All browser-based. No installation, ready to use.
Ways of Gathering in the Age of COVID-19 from Howlround.com
Help, I am teaching Theatre online! Ten things you should do when teaching Theatre online.
Show Stream – a full-suite streaming solution for your upcoming shows including live video capture, licensing, ticketing, streaming and video on-demand.
Virtual Classroom Scripts – allow teachers to quickly and easily get scripts in the hands of students. Immediately after purchase, a standard PDF script is emailed to the purchaser, which can then be distributed to students. In a matter of minutes, you and your students will have scripts at your disposal.
Missoula Children’s Theatre Playdates – A fun, interactive, set of daily activities based on our one-week International Tour Program. Learn lines, build props, sing songs, create costumes, and perform with your family. All with simple steps and MCT’s professional guidance. YOU can create the MCT magic in your very own home!
Royal Shakespeare Center– Many young people will be working from home for the first time, but this doesn’t mean learning, or creativity, need to stop.
- Shakespeare Learning Zone
- Homework Help
- Shakespeare Unlocked
- Live Lessons
- Activity Toolkits
- Online Performances
Broadway Dreams – Daily Free Arts Training. Check the provided link for a daily programming announcement, published at 10:55 AM ET.
Web Based CAD Design Software – No Download Needed!
FREE 30 min. Performer Consultations provided by IT Talent
- StageManagers.org Public Access Webinars/Videos
- Broadway HD – the Netflix of theatre performances
- Filmed on Stage – Repository of recorded performances
- Digital Theatre – For individuals and for educational institutions
- Great Performances – by PBS
- List of Streaming Productions via Playbill
- Kennedy Center Digital Stage Archive
- Andrew Lloyd Webber – Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber is calling all musical lovers! Starting this Friday, we’ll be releasing a full-length, smash-hit musical once a week for you to watch for free!
- Hidden Stars YouTube Channel – A free educational webinar that introduces students to the stars in the theater who don’t get a curtain call. Each episode comes with a student worksheet.
- Weathervane Theatre – Script Analysis Online Class
- The Farm Theatre Presents Bullpen Sessions – Featuring live recordings from the 2020 SETC Annual Convention
- The American Playbook
- Playing On Air
- On Tap Pod – A theatre & performance studies podcast
- The Ensemblist – With special episodes about the impact of the virus
- THED Talks – Podcast for theatre educators
- The Big and Tall Theatre Podcast
Academe’s Coronavirus Shock Doctrine – Faculty are already stretched thin, and now they are being asked to do more. They should hesitate before doing so.
Broadway is Closed. Write Poems Instead – NY Times
Arts and Culture Sector Can Prepare for the Coronavirus in the United States – Americans for the Arts
CERF+ Emergency Funding – CERF+ emergency assistance includes grants and/or brokered assistance, such as booth fee waivers and discounts or donations on supplies and equipment.
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation – The program will provide one-time grants of up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies. The grants are available to visual and media artists and choreographers who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories.
Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant – Created in 1993 to further FCA’s mission to encourage, sponsor, and promote work of a contemporary, experimental nature, Emergency Grants provide urgent funding for visual and performing artists
Authors League Fund – helps professional authors, journalists, poets, and dramatists who find themselves in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income, or other misfortune.
Actors Fund of America – assists those working in theater, film, television, radio, music, dance, opera and circus.
Dancers’ Resource – Support includes counseling, healthcare referrals, educational seminars, emergency financial assistance, and more.
Dramatists Guild Fund – awards one-time emergency grants to individual playwrights, lyricists and composers in need of temporary financial assistance due to unexpected illness or extreme hardship.
Episcopal Actors Guild of America – Theatre performers who perform live onstage before a live audience are the primary focus of the program.
Renaissance Entertainers, Services, and Crafters United Foundation (RESCU) – established to promote and maintain the health and medical well-being of the participants of Renaissance Fairs, historical performances and other artistic events through several programs including financial assistance and counseling for emergency medical needs.
TheatreWashington Taking Care of Our Own – Washington, DC – assist currently active Washington, DC area theatre professionals and artists in personal emergency situations.
Writers’ Emergency Fund – The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is a small grants program for professional—published or produced—writers in acute or unexpected financial crisis.
- CDA Clarification on the Small Business Administration’s EIDL and PPP Loan
- The U.S. Treasury Department released long-awaited guidance and the official application for PPP loan forgiveness on May 15, 2020.
Paycheck Protection Program
Small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees can begin applying for a new forgivable loan to help maintain operations during the COVID-19 crisis. Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department published an information sheet on the new Paycheck Protection Program. This loan program, also known as the emergency SBA 7(a) loan program, was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was signed into law.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) issued interim regulations on how the program will work. The rule includes a five-step process (see page 8) for calculating payroll costs for the purpose of the loan. It also requires that, for the loans to be forgivable, at least 75% of each loan must be used to cover payroll expenses. The rule defines payroll costs as: “compensation to employees (whose principal place of residence is the United States) in the form of salary, wages, commissions, or similar compensation; cash tips or the equivalent (based on employer records of past tips or, in the absence of such records, a reasonable, good-faith employer estimate of such tips); payment for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave; allowance for separation or dismissal; payment for the provision of employee benefits consisting of group health care coverage, including insurance premiums, and retirement; payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees; and for an independent contractor or sole proprietor, wage, commissions, income, or net earnings from self-employment or similar compensation.” Notably, compensation in excess of $100,000, federal payroll taxes, and qualified paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act do not count as payroll costs for purposes of the loan.
The SBA also has released the application form that borrowers must use for the Paycheck Protection Program (SBA Form 2483). Note that the application form asks for the name of the business “owner.” Since nobody “owns” a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations can leave this line blank or write “N/A” or “nonprofit.”
Paycheck Protection Program loans, which are fully forgivable for organizations that maintain staff on payroll through June 30 (or rehire staff who have been furloughed or laid-off), can be used to cover up to 2 ½ months of payroll, rent, mortgage, or utilities. Loans must be made through private financial institutions, not directly through the SBA.
Nonprofits are encouraged to apply for emergency 7(a) loans as soon as possible. Although the deadline is June 30, the CARES Act only authorized a total of $349 billion in Payroll Protection Act loans, and many nonprofits and small businesses are interested in seeking these forgivable loans. It is possible, but not guaranteed, that Congress could appropriate additional funding if demand for these forgivable loans quickly exceeds the current cap of $349 billion.
Charitable nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees that are struggling to maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic also can apply for the low-interest emergency SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), which is not forgivable but carries a 2.75% interest rate and long-term financing options. Nonprofits can apply for EIDL loans directly through the SBA. As part of the applications, nonprofits also may request an Emergency Economic Injury Grant of up to $10,000 that can be paid within three days (even if the organization ultimately does not qualify for an EIDL loan). Nonprofits may apply for both Paycheck Protection Act and EIDL loans (and are encouraged to apply for both as soon as possible) but may not use both loans to cover the same expenses.
To help your nonprofit understand which of these loan programs is the best option to help maintain your operations and payroll during the COVID-19 crisis, check out the comparison chart from the National Council of Nonprofits.
- Send a word of support! Write an email, text a friend, leave a glowing review on their facebook pages.
- Catch up with their events and get in the know when their next performances are. Mark your calendar so you are ready to attend when health concerns are alleviated.
- Performance cancelled? Consider not asking for a refund, but instead letting them keep the income, or if refunds are automatic, turn the refund amount into a donation.
- Buy a gift card! You will definitely use it in the future, and you will help reduce the current and future impact of these dark days.