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Theatre News Wire

TCG Releases Coronavirus Preparedness and Impact Report
Apr 21, 2020


Theatre Communications Group (TCG)Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has announced the release of their Coronavirus Preparedness and Impact Report, a 10-page report based on the results of a snapshot survey of TCG Member Theatres conducted in March. TCG will conduct further surveys to measure the pandemic's impact as part of a five-point approach to holistically respond to this crisis. TCG's efforts will help: stabilize theatres by advocating for and disseminating information about relief funds; organize them through virtual gatherings and online resource-sharing; communicate the urgent needs of theatres; innovate news ways of connecting with audiences; and transform the systemic challenges the theatre field faces to emerge stronger from this crisis. The full report can be found here.

One hundred sixty-eights theatres completed TCG's March 2020 Coronavirus Preparedness and Impact Survey. Key findings include:

- The majority of theatres had already made hard decisions to cancel performances and other activities. Eighty-eight percent of participants had cancelled performances that had already been scheduled to take place and/or were scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, 58% had already cancelled education programs, and 38% had already cancelled their annual gala.

- Revenue losses will be substantial. Theatres are not only losing income from ticket sales but also from other revenue streams such as rentals and investment income, and their usual fundraising efforts are severely compromised. In respondents' earliest projections, the lost revenue through June 2020 totals nearly $120 million. As stay-at-home orders have extended and expanded, the true lost revenue will no doubt prove to be much greater for those theatres and for the field as a whole. TCG estimates that for the larger universe of U.S. professional not-for-profit theatres (1,855 theatres per TCG's Theatre Facts 2018), total revenue loss through June 2020 alone will exceed $500 million.

- Theatres need immediate and ongoing relief and support. With limited cash and no revenue, many theatres are fearful about the survival of their organizations. They need flexibility in the use of existing grants and significant additional support from the government, foundations, corporations, and individuals both for the short-term and beyond. Theatres are concerned about the pressure on the funding community, since every arena is being affected by the pandemic, and they worry about where the arts will fall in funding priorities.

"The professional theatre field is meeting this existential crisis with characteristic courage and creativity," said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. "Yet as this research reveals, immediate and urgent relief and recovery funds are required to limit the damage to the hard-won growth of our resident theatre movement. At stake are not just the jobs lost, the productions cancelled, or the theatres shuttered. Theatres have played a vital role in revitalizing urban downtown centers and rural main streets alike. They convene communities across differences to share stories, strengthening our frayed social fabric. When the pandemic recedes, theatres and theatre artists will play a vital role in restoring our communal well-being, and they must be supported during these difficult days."

"Theatres have been working hard to apply for Payroll Protection Program relief through the SBA as well as other forms of federal relief, but the severity of the crisis has outpaced the relief that is available," said Laurie Baskin, director of research, policy, and collective action, TCG. "So, in addition to working to access relief and fundraise in their communities, theatre leaders are also contacting their elected officials in record numbers to tell their stories of COVID-19 impact."


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