When theaters went dark in March, Tucson lost more than the chance to see plays and be entertained.
Artists lost income from theater work, as well.
To compound that, many theater artists have second jobs that also came to a standstill.
Steve Wood, an actor and a waiter at Cafe Poca Cosa, is one of those who got that one-two punch.
The play he was in at Live Theatre Workshop, “Radiant Vermin,” was halted mid-run. Not long after, all restaurants were ordered to close.
“It was so unexpected,” said Wood. “It’s like being thrown to the wolves.”
The Star has joined forces with the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona to raise money for local theater artists.
“Arizona Daily Star readers are passionate about the theater,” says senior editor Debbie Kornmiller. “That’s why we’ve had a theater reporter for as long as I can remember, and I’ve worked at the Star nearly 40 years.
“Kathleen Allen, the Star’s longtime theater reporter, and I were talking. Ticking off the arts and who had their back. Seemed to us that no one was raising money for theater workers — not just the actors, but the box office workers, the set designers and the other behind the scenes workers who help bring theater to life and who have second and third jobs that they’ve now lost. And who are our neighbors.”
The initial goal is to raise $20,000 and to award grants of $500 to artists who will be randomly selected by the Arts Foundation from the fund applicants.
If more is raised, more theater workers can benefit from the small but needed financial boost.
The donation page is open now; theater workers can begin applying on June 22.
“The theater community has been good to us, all of us in Southern Arizona, bringing life to stories, putting issues in perspective, making us laugh and cry and forcing us to confront uncomfortable truths,” says Kornmiller.
“I don’t want them to be forgotten.”
In this Series
June's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: Bars, gyms face shutdowns; Tucsonans worried telemedicine might disappear
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