On May 6, Actors' Equity Association President Kate Shindle participated in a press call with fellow union professionals in the arts, entertainment and media industry to discuss the challenges and measures being taken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Our members are hurting," she said. The Actors' Equity Association represents about 52,000 stage managers and actors working in the theater. As previously reported, the coronavirus crisis has resulted in the shutdown of Broadway, West End and other theatrical venues, leaving many in the theater community unemployed.
Shindle emphasized the need for government funding during this time. "It's important that we continually frame arts funding not as a luxury but as the economic engine that it is. Congress must do more to ensure that theaters have the support they need to reopen when it is safe to do so," she said. "That has a halo effect, which allows local economies to recover."