St. Louis Theatre Community Task Force, making a difference in the community
The St. Louis Theatre Community Task Force recently was created to support local artists and individuals in the theater community. Sharon Hunter, artistic director and producer of Moonstone Theatre Company is the force behind this effort.
“The reason behind my inspiration to create the St. Louis Theatre Community Task Force was to answer questions that I had on how we would proceed with auditions, rehearsals and performances during and after this pandemic,” said Hunter. “I wanted to compare ideas and brainstorm on how we could find another way to do this and keep our actors, creative teams, and audiences safe.”
Zoom meetings began back in April with members of the arts & theater community to strategize a plan to help those in the community. Janet Wilding, Vice President of Major Projects for the STL Partnership has also attended meetings and is helping with the effort. “As part of our work at the Partnership during the COVID-19 crisis, we are all trying to provide financial resources to our local businesses and institutions that are threatened by the closings due to the pandemic,” said Wilding. “We are also working together on a coordinated response to providing PPE to theaters once they begin opening for live performances.”
The St. Louis Theatre Community Task Force has also helped support the Regional Arts Commissions’ Artist Relief Fund, where applications will be accepted until Friday, June 12. The organization recently helped raise $350,000 for local artists.
Hunter offers hope to the theater community. “Be patient, live theater will soon return. It is important to take this time to get more education and information about your profession,” said Hunter. “In the meantime, actors can take one of many free classes and webinars that are being offered by Actors’ Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, and so many theaters and theatrical groups around the country.”
Sharon also wants the public to know that supporting the St. Louis theater community is vital. “Support theaters when they have a virtual performance that they are streaming. And if you can, please donate to your favorite theaters to help them during this difficult financial time,” said Sharon. “They need your support until we can all get back on our feet.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has also made it their goal to keep the theater community safe. “Our focus is to keep actors, crew staff and of course our audience safe,” said Hunter. “If we work together, navigate new ways of performing and creating, then we will show everyone we are united. When people know you care about them and their safety, they will come back.”
Sharon expressed how she hopes that the St. Louis Theatre Community Task Force will continue beyond the pandemic. “The task force currently serves as a place of reference for navigating the pandemic and finding solutions,” said Hunter. “We will begin to make plans to keep this going long term as we evolve into the next phase of what the group can become.”
“It is all about blazing a new path that is exciting and different and we must be challenged in that direction. It is refreshing that in a time of crisis, the tradition of “the show must go on” continues.”
For more information about the St. Louis Theatre Community Task Force click here.