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Spotlight on the Arts: The show must go on

By Serina Marshall • Apr 1, 2020 at 7:26 PM

When Shakespeare wrote the words “All the world’s a stage,” I don’t think he could ever have imagined that nearly 421 years later, performers and musicians all over the earth would be literally turning the world into their stage to continue performing during a pandemic.

It isn’t any coincidence the theatre in which Shakespeare presented his plays was called The Globe, either. Throughout history, actors have poured every ounce of passion and talent into their art, so as to bring stories to life and imagination to the very realm of reality.

Now, more than ever, these determined players are in need of an escape from reality as COVID-19 (coronavirus) takes hold of not only the stages, but the livelihoods of the performers themselves.

All over, performers are feeling and reeling from the effects of shows being closed and venues being shut down. From community theaters to Broadway, the theater industry has come to a standstill, with its workers having no real knowledge as to when they will be back in their happy places again.

After speaking with many performers from Kingsport to New York, from to Orlando to France, the request is the same: please help us during this time, as the curtain has closed, and we don’t know when the house lights will come up again.

The cries for awareness ring out across platforms — not only from stages, but from theme parks, tech booths and dance studios. These talented humans want people to know what is going on and how they can help.

Here are some specific ways the industry has been, and continues to be, affected:

• Performers are losing their offers for shows, as performance spaces are closing all over.

• Many of these performers are paid by the gig so, when the gigs stop, so does the payment.

• Many have had to immediately file for unemployment and may face bankruptcy and homelessness if doors stay shut for long.

• Performers from all over were abruptly sent home to their respective states and countries with no warning, leaving many of them scrambling to find places to stay.

• Concert halls and cruises are also shutting down, so musicians who count on these spaces to perform at are losing opportunity and income.

• According to nearly all these performers, they don’t do what they do for a lot of money. For them, it is a passion. It keeps them alive — in more ways than one. Now everything is gone. Everything.

However, in true performer fashion — despite the harsh realities and new adjustments — these creative folks have found ways to ensure the show goes on.

Through social media, artists have been using their talents to support each other and still entertain the masses during a time when we need it the most. Online cabaret shows, live streams of performances, comedy shows and a variety of lessons in dance, voice and acting have exploded onto the internet in an attempt to keep the arts alive during this crucial moment in time.

All over the nation and the world, performers and artists are using their perseverance and passion to lead the world in their living room versions of Broadway and concert series. Artists are playing instruments on balconies, performing and acting out songs in their homes, creating virtual versions of game shows and just doing what entertainers do — entertaining.

Performers don’t know the meaning of giving up. They know how to adapt and overcome. They know what it means to an audience to stay relatable, to keep the energy up and to give their all from show open to show close.

Right now, the shows are closed. We don’t know when they will reopen. But this isn’t stopping these incredible and intriguing performers from drying their tears, putting on their makeup and taking the stage to perform through the pain and uncertainty.

That is what the world needs right now. Artists, performers, entertainers and players that want the show to go on despite what is happening behind the scenes. They are making sure the world still smiles and dances and applauds the good parts in spite of it all.

Yes, all the world is a stage. And right now, artists all over the globe are taking it by storm and putting on the performances of a lifetime. And they all deserve a standing ovation.

To help support artists during this time, follow these simple steps:

• Do not get refunds for shows. Instead, think about donating that money to the theatre directly. They will need help, once they reopen, to continue entertaining.

• Donate to artists’ live streams.

• Donate directly to performance spaces in your area!

• Donate to platforms such as:

SAG-AFRA COVID-19 Disaster fund

American Guild of Musical Artists Relief Fund

Artist Relief Tree (for artists)

Springboard for the Arts

Americans for the Arts

Serina Marshall presents all things arts for your enjoyment once a month in Sunday Stories. Read more of Serina’s work in her blog.

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