Performance Center Owners Hoping for Stimulus Relief - Erie News Now | WICU and WSEE in Erie, PA

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The stage is quiet.


Waiting for the reopening of several theater owners delayed.

Mark Tannenbaum, executive director of the Collective League of Performing Artists, said: “We set a season, but we cancelled it.” Since the spring, his theater has been as quiet as other theaters.

During the pandemic, Tannenbaum and PACA also bear the financial burden. He said that the livelihoods of the performers were taken away. 

Tannenbaum said: "We just can't create art." "Therefore, apart from financial responsibility, we can't afford to do our favorite things."

Paul Urbanowicz of the Station Dinner Theater also understands this struggle. He said that funding from county-level appropriations had helped him reach this point, but he was worried about the future of the building.

Actually-he almost went bankrupt earlier this year. 

Ubanowicz said: "At that time we were studying the borrowed funds, and the grant provided a lot of help." "Now we have to spend the entire winter, so that is the main thing now."

Fortunately, there is a lighthouse in the distance. This light is in the form of $15 billion from the newly launched stimulus plan-specifically to help theaters get funding.

The money will be distributed like a grant. If the theater is approved, it will receive two grants: one is now and the other is in the spring. 

The purpose is to ensure that the small performing arts center remains afloat during the forced closure.

In the eyes of Larry Lewis, for all his performing arts theaters and others, this investment opportunity comes at the right time. He said: "This is very important." "Without stimulating funding, [the theater] will take a long time to catch up. The sooner it is, the better."

In fact, every director has the same feeling. This money came when the directors needed their lifeblood, and it was a way to save their business and livelihood.

Tannenbaum said: "We still have huge gas and water bills. Those things will not go away."

Zach Flock, the creative director of Dramashop, agreed. Flock said: "An organization with professional staff is very important for them to open their doors."   

For Urbanowicz, money is a question of safety and insecurity. Without funds, he is not sure what the future holds.

However, as long as he obtains a grant, he can almost guarantee that as long as there is a safety hazard, as long as he does so in 2021, he can open the door for performances.

Urbanowicz said: "This will allow my theater and all other theaters to survive until we can really reopen." "We want to return to our favorite place, I know the performers here want the opportunity to return to the stage as soon as possible. Come on. This money will provide more than just help."

This story was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

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