PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Theater and music venues across Philadelphia will be lit up in red Tuesday night for #RedAlertRESTART to raise awareness of the hardships facing the entertainment industry since COVID-19 effectively ended all indoor live performances.
“The live events industry, they’re in trouble right now,” said Bryan Buttler, Philadelphia spokesman of the Live Events Coalition.
The Franklin Institute, Boathouse Row and the Wilma Theater are just a few of the venues that will be lit in red from 9 p.m. until midnight to draw attention to the RESTART Act introduced in Congress back in May.
“It is important that folks know that we are going to be affected for the long term, and there is support that we need to be able to continue to support the livelihoods of the people we work with and to be able to make sure that we can return,” said Leigh Goldenberg, managing director of the Wilma Theater.
The RESTART Act would provide performers and gig workers with additional unemployment compensation and relief funding for music venues and theaters.
“Not just the performers on the stages, but technicians, lighting designers, people who take your tickets, ushers, programmers, they’re all out of work too,” Buttler said.
The Live Events Coalition reports some 62% of arts and entertainment workers are fully unemployed, and 94% of workers in the industry have reported some kind of income loss.
“I’ve been primarily surviving off unemployment and honestly my savings,” said Philadelphia-based actress Amanda Shaffern.
Shaffern has lost months of work due to productions being shut down. In the meantime, she and another actor created a digital theater company called “Coffee and a Play.”
“They’re for the heart, they’re not for our wallets. So when anybody, even if you donate $20 to a theatrical project, that goes a really long way,” Shaffern said.
Another way you can support local performers and industry workers is by attending the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, which is virtual this year. It runs from Sept. 10 through Oct. 4.