New Financial Aid Effort Offered for Theater Workers Returning to New York
As theater and Broadway shows continue to reopen or prepare to in the coming months, The Actors Fund and the Places Please Project have partnered to offer financial assistance to theater workers who are returning to New York City for employment.
The grants offered by the partnership, announced Wednesday, will be need-based and can be used toward a first month of rent, a security deposit and/or moving expenses. Theater workers in any role (including artists, musicians, designers, technical and adminstrative employees) can apply now at The Actors Fund website. According to the Places Please Project website, individual grants allotted can be up to $5,000, depending on need.
Places Please Project was founded by Tony-nominated actor Lilli Cooper, Tony-nominated writer Kyle Jarrow, Tony-nominated composer Andrew Lippa, Downstage Media founder Annie Schiffmann and New York SongSpace founder Kara Unterberg in order to financially assist theater workers returning to New York. “An unprecedented shutdown of the theater industry has left a generation of artists, musicians, designers, technicians and administrators unable to work,” organization co-founder Jarrow said in a statement. “Many have had to leave New York. Many are now struggling to return. We’re honored to join with The Actors Fund to help those in need.”
To be eligible, applicants must be New York City-based theater workers who left the city during the pandemic and are returning to regain employment in the industry. Applicants must be further willing to offer documentation of former theater work and potential future work as well as proof that they formerly lived in New York but moved elsewhere during the pandemic. Applicants must show theater-related earnings of over $6,500 for three of the last five years.
“Since March of 2020, The Actors Fund has distributed more than $22.3 million in emergency financial assistance to more than 16,600 members of the performing arts and entertainment community,” The Actors Fund president Joe Benincasa said in a statement. “We’ve partnered with more than 20 organizations to support all professions in the entertainment industry, and we’re proud to join with Places Please Project to help theater workers moving back to New York be safe and secure in their futures.”
Places Please Project is also currently continuing to fundraise for the grants, currently with a $50,000 matching grant from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
In late July, The Broadway League (the industry’s national trade association and negotiating body with unions) announced that the organization, Broadway theater owners and operators had agreed to implement a vaccine requirement for theater visitors and staff through Oct. 2021. Theater guests must also wear masks indoors under the agreement and show proof of full vaccination. Just a day earlier, The Broadway League and performers union Actors Equity reached an agreement to require Broadway’s workforce to be vaccinated.