A ‘Nice Cultural Melancholy’ Looms for Legions of Unemployed Performers

Many artists rely on charity. The Actors Fund, an arts service organization, has raised and distributed $ 18 million since the pandemic began to help provide basic living for 14,500 people.

“I’ve been with the Actors Fund for 36 years,” said Barbara S. Davis, the chief operating officer. “By September 11th, Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 recession, shut the industry down. There is clearly nothing like it. “

Higher paid television and film actors are more likely to have a cushion, but they too have endured disappointments and missed opportunities. Jack Cutmore-Scott and Meaghan Rath, now his wife, had just been cast in a new CBS pilot, “Jury Duty,” when the pandemic halted filming.

“I had my costume fit and we were due to read the table the following week, but we never made it,” said Cutmore-Scott Mr. After several postponements, they learned in September that CBS would be pulling out altogether.

Many live performers have been looking for new ways to pursue their art, turning to video, streaming, and other platforms. Carla Govers’ tour to dance and play traditional Appalachian music as well as a folk opera she composed “Corn bread and tortillas” have been canceled. “I’ve had a few long, dark nights of the soul trying to imagine what I could do,” said Ms. Gover, who lives in Lexington, Kentucky and has three children.

She began sending weekly emails to all of her contacts, sharing videos, and offering online courses on flatfoot dancing and constipation. The response was enthusiastic. “I figured out how to use hashtags and now I have a new kind of business,” said Ms. Gover.

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