American Theatre: Theatres Restaff, But Who Gets to Come Back?
August 23, 2021
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A recent article written by Jerald Raymond Pierce for American Theatre had readers asking who will get to come back to work as theatres reopen and begin restaffing. Questions of what returning to the industry looks like, our "new normal," and what positions will need to be filled are on many industry minds as well as points of discussion in "Theatres Restaff, But Who Gets to Come Back?" Read an excerpt from Jerald's article below.
"When things shut down in March 2020, Portland Center Stage had just opened one show and was in previews for another. As managing director Cynthia Fuhrman (she/her) looks back now, the company was at that point heading into what was supposed to be their most profitable quarter—a good thing, since, as Fuhrman recalled, it would be coming on the heels of having burnt through the bulk of their expenses. Then the actuality of those coming weeks and months quickly shifted.
“Our financial reality was, we didn’t have payroll in two weeks,” said Fuhrman. “We really had to immediately make some big choices on cutting back on costs and expenses.”
The ensuing process of paring down staff was a painful one. PCS moved from a staff of around 100 down to 27 “almost immediately,” Fuhrman added. Now that PCS, like many other organizations around the country, are finally ready to rebuild their staffs, there are new questions about who’s being brought back—and who is not—as well as concerns about what a return to “normal” means."