Living in the midst of a pandemic has forced us to change the things that used to be normal in many aspects of our lives.
As a theatre student looking to enter the entertainment industry in the near future, I am keenly aware of the ways that live entertainment has changed or disappeared in the last nine months.
Working in live entertainment, whether that be as a concert photographer, event manager, designer, director or manager, has become an important part of who I am and what I do. I’ve grown to love and thrive in the craziness that often surrounds some of the best experiences I’ve had working in entertainment.
The sudden shutdown of not only Broadway and many other theatres worldwide in addition to the postponement of countless concerts shook me pretty hard for the first few months that I was at home after spring break.
I can speak firsthand about what it feels like to have something you’ve worked hard on disappear so quickly. I had just started stage managing the Department of Theatre’s spring musical, “Freaky Friday,” when we received the news that the university was shifting classes online, and we had to cancel the show.
I was in New York City taking a vacation with friends from my department during spring break when cases started to spread across the country. I remember shifting from mild annoyance to deep concern within the 72 hours preceding Broadway shutting down on March 11. I have a feeling that I will remember that date and those feelings for a long time.
It crushed me to see so many people go without work, support, pay or simply acknowledgement in the first few months of the pandemic shutdown.
With that being said, I have been encouraged and excited to see the ways that people working in the entertainment industry have been willing to make sacrifices and adjustments in order to continue doing what they love and safely share that with their communities.
Many people have come together during such challenging times to find ways to work together, learn new skills, raise awareness and support each other. It’s reassuring to think about the community-building results that have come out of something that, at first, I could see no positivity in.
It’s certainly sad that it remains difficult and unwise to host a truly live event in the time we now live in. Sometimes I catch myself wondering if the entertainment industry will ever fully recover and return to normal.
However, I keep myself from dwelling by looking at the bigger picture and realizing that by dealing with rules and regulations that seem out of place today, I can work in an industry that has time to develop and improve its capabilities for the future.
I’ve definitely missed working on a show performed to a live audience, but the changes forced into my department have allowed me many great opportunities I would not have otherwise received. I’ve seen what it’s like to work on a film set, worked on designs of my own, met and connected with several people in the industry and spent more time with my professors than has previously been available.
Thinking about what the world may look like in six months, let alone two years, does nothing but increase my worries. So, I try to keep myself encouraged and busy with things I can work on now to develop skills I can use in the future.
Do all you can to support the people who work so hard to bring you the entertainment we once all enjoyed together. Following the rules to keep yourselves and the people around you safe will allow many stranded individuals to return to work and continue bringing experiences to life.