Five Ways to Help Our Theaters Survive the Pandemic

We all miss the theater, during the COVID-19 pandemic. But our favorite theaters are unable to create any theater at all. As you can imagine, our theater artists are scared: Without the income of ticket sales and ongoing support from donors, how will they create art when the pandemic ends?
The time to step up and help our theaters is now. They may run out of funds if we simply wait for them to reopen.
Barb Weinberger, executive director of Pegasus Theatre in Dallas, currently faces that struggle. Her company’s signature show, Living Black and White, usually includes a New Year’s Eve performance followed by an after-party. This year, it has been canceled out of concerns for the safety of the audience, cast, and crew.
Although the company is committed to producing something online in January, Weinberger offers five suggestions in the meantime to keep our theaters strong during this challenging time:

  1. Donate. Even if the theatre is not producing anything at the moment, they have expenses. At a minimum, they have to pay liability insurance, worker’s compensation, licensing agreements, and perhaps some staff salaries. If the theater has a fixed performing space, the multitude of facility costs is added. Imagine the terror of watching any reserves you have zero out.
  2. Subscribers who didn’t get to see all of the promised shows can donate the balance of their subscriptions or let their subscriptions roll over to the following season. Theaters need what little cash they have to stay open and will appreciate not having to pay refunds.
  3. Offer to help. Do you have skills in fundraising or accounting? Many theaters are working to strengthen their organizations, and you can be a part of that. For example, Pegasus Theatre is using this time to revisit theater governance, expand diversity and inclusion practices, and shore up fundraising efforts.
  4. Reach out. It’s a lonely and sad time for many people, and that includes theaters — which, after all, are made up of people serving others. Send a note of support and express your eagerness to come back to the theater when it’s safe to do so. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated.
  5. Buy a ticket! If your favorite theatre is producing something online, go ahead and buy a ticket. They’ve put time and money into staying connected to their audience; reward them with ticket purchases and encourage your friends to do the same. Show our theaters you want them to thrive by hosting a watch party and spreading the word.

About the Author

Check out the latest issue of our online magazine!

More for You

Topics & Perspectives

What’s All the Buzz About Bees?

These Fascinating Creatures Are Un-‘Bee’-lieveable Have you ever had the opportunity to observe a honeybee’s busy work as it meanders from flower to flower on a cloudless, summer’s day? Honeybees are known for their honey …

Read More
Arts & Entertainment

I Love My Little TVs — Now Streaming Shows and Movies at Small Screens Near You

When TV broadcasts switched to digital, my heart sank. The little portable TV with an internal antenna I happily toted with me as I diddled around the house fell into obsolescence. I quietly suffered, turning …

Read More
Money & Retirement

Our Transition from a Home to a Floating Tiny House

Photos by Jim Hill ~  It was a cold weekend in mid-December — with temperatures in the low 30s — when my husband, Jim, and I headed to Annapolis, Maryland, to look at a 47-foot …

Read More