In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Indie Theater Fund will award rapid relief grants of up to $500 to support the indie and Off-Off-Broadway theatre community, prioritizing those working in houses of 99 seats or less and operating with budgets under $250,000.
While such small theatres could, in the first days of New York's mass gathering restrictions, operate if limiting capacity to 50 percent, a new mandate from Mayor Bill de Blasio will close small theatres, nightclubs, movie theatres, and concert venues beginning March 17.
The Emergency Fundraising Campaign for Independent Theaters, which began March 12, has raised over $10,000 to date. The campaign also includes plans for supporting paid digital live-streaming of independent theatre, creating an Indie Theater-Makers Wellbeing Group via Facebook to promote community-wide conversations, strategic fundraising advice available in partnership with Sarah Benvenuti from Benvenuti Arts, and legal consultations to address the needs of the community.
Randi Berry, founder of Indie Theater Fund, said in a statement, "Based on responses to the impact of COVID-19 in our community, we are allocating our Community Resource Funding and Urgency Funding to support our indie theatre community, including our 546 active members.”
The Board of Indie Theater Fund has also partnered with NYC Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund and allocated additional funds to support the needs of low-income, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, trans, gender non-conforming, non-binary, queer artists and freelancers whose livelihoods are being affected by this pandemic.