Theater’s Extended Suspension Demonstrates Urgent Need for National Economic Arts Relief Package

July 10, 2020

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Following the Broadway League’s announcement extending Broadway’s closure through at least January 3, 2021, many other theaters, dance, and opera companies are following suit and holding off on reopening until 2021. Theater workers will most likely be out of work for the rest of the year; at least. The FPUC is set to expire on July 25, 2020. Everyone needs to reach out to their Senator to vote on extending the FPUC weekly benefits through the end of the year as soon as they return to DC on July 20. The Senate must take action when they return! We need to make the case for how much theater and live entertainment add to the U.S. economy and without assistance, the industry is not going to recover for a long time.

To ensure passage of this bill we must act quickly, please contact your Senators and Congressional Representatives to let them know you need their support on funding this bill. To that end, please click on the link below to find your officials.

How to Contact Your Elected Officials

Pandemic Assistance Should Continue until the Pandemic is Over
For further information on extending the PUA, and for a wealth of information and talking points to bolster your message to your Senators and Congressional Representatives, go to: This is an excellent site with a lot of good information and resource links!

The Economic Impact of Theater
We all have to do a better job in expressing just how much theater and live entertainment adds to the U.S. Economy. The Arts sector as a whole is really too big to fail. Below, you will find some useful information and numbers to help personalize your messages to your Senators and Congressional Representatives.

Actors’ Equity Association released the following statement: “Countless regional theaters have made the exact same decision as Broadway and are voluntarily postponing their seasons and putting the safety and health of their audiences and workers first. These responsible decisions mean that the industry will need support so that when it is safe to reopen, the arts can go back to work and help the entire economy recover,” said Brandon Lorenz, National Director of Communications and Public Policy for Actors’ Equity Association. “While the HEROES Act has important provisions on unemployment and health insurance subsidies, what is sadly missing is arts funding and loans that will enable the live performing arts to quickly reopen and help the economy grow.”

Among the provisions missing from the HEROES Act that would help the arts and entertainment sector: An emergency $4 billion in supplemental funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and Corporation for Public Broadcasting, low interest loans for theaters that do not qualify for NEA funding, restoring the business tax deduction for the purchase of live entertainment tickets and the passage of H.R. 3121, the bipartisan Performing Artist Tax Parity Act. Read more on the priorities of creative professionals for recovery.

The arts and entertainment sector drives economies in cities and towns across the country. In New York City, Broadway attendance tops those of the ten professional New York and New Jersey sports teams combined. Broadway surpassed the combined sports teams by over 4.6 million in attendance. During the 2018-2019 season, the Broadway industry contributed $14.7 billion to the economy of New York City and supported 96,900 jobs. According to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), 7.5% of New York’s gross state product lies in the arts and cultural sector.

The average nonprofit arts attendee spends another $31.41 per person, per show beyond the cost of admission, according to Americans for the Arts. That includes spending at restaurants, parking and even the babysitter. Nationally, this spending supports 2.3 million jobs, provides $46.6 billion in household income, and generates $15.7 billion in total government revenue.