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How theater and cinema have adapted to survive nearly two years of the pandemic


From the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the hardest-hit industries was the arts.

From April to July 2020, an estimated 50% of all jobs in the fine and performing arts industries were lost in the U.S., according to the Brookings Institution.

Charlotte wasn’t spared – the Manor Twin Theatre, considered Charlotte’s oldest movie theater, shuttered in 2020. Blumenthal Performing Arts laid off 30 full-time staff in September 2020 after cutting the 165 part-timers in July of the same year.

Still, many artists and venues were able to hold on by adapting to COVID-19 restrictions, from holding smaller, outdoor events to live streaming performances to a virtual audience.

We speak with local and national experts about the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the arts industry and how they have been forced to adapt in Charlotte and throughout the nation.


Tom Gabbard, CEO of Blumenthal Performing Arts

Sean O'Connell, managing director of CinemaBlend and co-host of ReelBlend podcast

Jeff Lunden, freelance arts reporter for NPR

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.