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Charlotte Talks: Will Our Arts And Entertainment Sector Survive The Pandemic?

Jeff Hahne

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Theaters around the nation are dark. Those who work in them are out of jobs. And even as we begin to reopen, venues designed to hold thousands face the challenge posed by social distance requirements. Can the arts survive?

Among the businesses that closed their doors at the start of this pandemic were theaters and performance venues. Broadway turned off the lights and here in Charlotte, concerts were cancelled, and musicals and straight plays, comedy clubs, dance performances, and other forms of entertainment followed.

All the people on the stage and those behind-the-scenes were thrown out of jobs. Now, as the economy begins to reopen, the question becomes, how do you accomplish social distancing in performance venues?

Sure, you can sell only 50% of the seats, but then, how do you make money? Funding for the arts here was in trouble before this crisis. Will our town’s arts and entertainment sector survive?


Tom Gabbard, president and CEO of Blumenthal Performing Arts

Gregg McCraw, president of MaxxMusic. He books talent at venues across the city, including Neighborhood Theatre, which is asking for the public’s help to stay afloat.

David "Dae-Lee" Arrington, Grammy-nominated producer, recording artist, co-founder of Fair Play Music Equity Initiative and Hue House. He has helped establish the Charlotte Music Community COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Linda Reynolds, managing director, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.