The Public Theater has issued hundreds of freelance theatre artists a check for $1,000 to help them through a period of unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March, theatres have been shuttered and millions of professionals in the industry have found themselves out of work.
The initiative provides support to the freelancers who have recently worked on fully staged productions, concerts at Joe's Pub, or participated in one of the Off-Broadway company’s artist working groups.
“It feels pathetic—[$1,000] isn’t enough money—but it’s just what we can do right now,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis to The New York Times. “We’re trying to let them know we see them, and we also hope it will inspire other institutions to recognize that preserving the field isn’t just preserving our staff or our buildings, but the people who do the vast amount of work.”
Following this first round of support—which went to 368 freelancers who worked at The Public between September 2019 and March 2020—a second round will likely go out by the end of the year.