The curtain has had to come down on theater performances due to COVID-19. Now, theaters are working to stay afloat when their main source of revenue has vanished until further notice.
The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre’s doors may be closed, but Executive Director Chad Bauman says that this hasn’t deterred them from their mission to bring world-class theater experiences that entertain, provoke and inspire an audience that’s representative of the community.
“The arts bring light to darkness and they provide hope in times of despair,” Bauman said. “They’ve gotten people through world wars and political uprisings for thousands and thousands of years.”
The Milwaukee Rep’s social media is offering ways for people to enjoy the theater from home, like monologues and songs performed by Milwaukee Rep artists, interviews with featured artists, and free online classes.
“I think people are really grateful,” Bauman said. “I think it gives us a nice break to get out of our current reality.”
For $15, people can rent a viewing of The Rep’s production of “Eclipsed.” However, this does not make up for their $14 million operating budget. At milwaukeerep.com, people can donate to help the theater reopen when they are able to.
“I think the arts are going to be critical in bringing our communities back out from under the cloud of COVID,” Bauman said. “We’re going to want to gather again. We’re going to want to have shared human experience again, so the arts are cathartic in a way that helps us heal as a community.”
The Schauer Arts Center in Hartford has also had to cancel their scheduled productions and classes. During this time, they are relying on their corporate sponsors and individual donors to help them to be able to open again once it is safe.
The executive director of the center, Mary Schauer, says that there is uncertainty revolving around whether or not people will be financially able to attend once they are able to reopen.
“Will people still be willing to spend their money for things like this, will corporate sponsors be able to continue their sponsorship, will individual donors be able to continue donating?” Schauer said.
Schauer asks that, if individuals are able to do so, please donate at schauercenter.org. Schauer says that this will be the key to the survival of the center.
“I know that there are very important basic needs out there that are going to need support, but I just hope that people will keep in mind that this is an important part of the community and an important part of people’s lives,” Schauer said. “Hopefully, they will see the value and help us restore that back to what it was.”
The Waukesha Civic Theatre is working on a recovery plan to bounce back from their loss of income. The theater is also relying heavily on individual donations.
The theater is working to raise $54,000 on their Go Fund Me page to support their staff and operations.
“We will continue to provide quality live entertainment and theatre education for years to come, but only with your help,” their Go Fund Me page says.
If you would like to donate, visit https://bit.ly/39PzKQZ.