Broadway World: 'Hero' Is Their Middle Name: Entertainment Artists Answer the Call for PPE

May 22, 2020

Photo provided by Million Mask Challenge. Courtesy: Christina Headrick

"Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the heroic efforts of first responders, frontline healthcare professionals, and essential workers have moved and inspired regular folks the world over to mobilize in the fight against the virus.

The arts community is no different with many of our artists using their skills to aid relief efforts. Since the start of the outbreak, designers, seamstresses, performers, and other individuals with the necessary skills have joined the effort to provide face masks and other personal protective equipment.

Members of theatrical unions have joined the ranks of the effort with branches of IATSE's Theatre Wardrobe Locals and the Hollywood Costumers Locals all answering the call for PPE in various ways.

Here in New York, members of the Broadway community and beyond have joined the Urban Resource Institute and IATSE Local 764 to create a minimum of 1,200 masks. More than 50 volunteers, including members of the NYC Sewing Community, have combined their skills to make masks for those in need.

IATSE Local 764 and 829 member, Beverly Law, has made and distributed over 375 masks over the past month.

She says of the effort, "It is nice to use my skills to give back in some way. As we watch the numbers of cases grows, I hope to contribute number of masks to combat and balance out those sad numbers with some good numbers. I am a proud union member and proud that we as a union have stepped up to get involved during this crisis."

To help others join the effort, Beverly is sharing her process, video tutorials, step by step photos, and other tips on her Instagram page, @SewBevy.
Former Radio City Rockette and Broadway dancer, Karyn Tomczak has also joined the effort, using the sewing skills learned from her grandma as a child to sew face masks for friends, family, neighbors, and URI.
Joining these industry professionals are some amazing civilians, including essential workers, who are using their free time to create and distribute PPE.

Annick Vuissoz, an essential employee working full-time amid the COVID-19 crisis, has been using her own material and spending extra time to make masks for her community."

Click here to continue reading.