I am at the end of my sophomore year of college, studying musical theatre. I wasn’t cast in any of the school productions this year, meaning that my most recent show was senior year of high school. However, it was recently announced that the school would be sponsoring a student-directed production of Jesus Christ Superstar, in which I was THRILLED to be cast. I was so excited to sing my one solo line from the ensemble. That production is now canceled and it is likely that I will go 3 years without having a single thing to put on my resumé.
I am a middle school theatre director. We likely will have our show cancelled. Even if school opens back up in several weeks, there are so many variables that could keep us from performing. My first thoughts went to our 8th graders. Many of them have worked SO hard the two previous years (as well as most of this year) to improve and be cast in a role only to be let down and not be able to perform. Some of the kids will bounce back, but I know some of them will be devastated. This is their final chance to perform for our school. Even more heartbreaking, some of our students are accepted into special programs in high school, which limits their ability to participate in the arts. For these students, this may be their final show. When I realized I was feeling sorry for our 8th graders, my thoughts went to our 6th graders. For a lot of these kids, this is their first show. They will miss out on the excitement and exhaustion of tech week. They will miss out on the thrill of performing. They will miss out on the camaraderie. For some of them, they have waited so long to be able to come to our school and join us. Our 7th graders are missing out, too. When you only have 3 opportunities to be in our shows, losing one is a big deal. We will pull together and get through this, but not without some pain. For now, our students are rehearsing at home as best as they can. They are trying to remember dances, songs and lines while isolating themselves. From an administrative viewpoint, our program may suffer a financial loss. We have already begun construction of sets, costumes and props. We have also paid for the license. We are in uncharted territory here. Stay safe. Stay healthy!
Submitted by K.Miller
I’m an arts administrator, board member, and singer. I sit on two performing arts boards in my community — theater and early music — and both have cancelled all performances for the next 3 months. The loss of artistic production is staggering: two major theater productions and a 10-day music festival. I’ve lost two singing gigs with two different choirs; choral singing is my therapy and I miss it terribly. I am semi-retired from working so I don’t need to worry about losing my own income; instead, I am terribly worried for all artists, freelance and otherwise. I’ve donated to one on-line fund for artists, but don’t really know what else to do in the private sector. As a longtime public sector arts advocate, I plan to lobby for federal, state and local relief support for artists and arts organizations, as soon as our messaging becomes clear.
Submitted by Sally Gaskill, arts administrator