Theatre needs people to be. Traditionally, people performing makes sense only if there is someone to perform for.
In the modern times this situation is, obviously, not possible. Going to the theatre means staying close to each other, not respecting the safe distance.
Theatres have been closed, like other types of activities, but probably they will be the last ones to be reopened.
The machine of performing, in order to work, needs people who make it possible: looking at the field from outside the first figures to think about are actors, directors, dancers, singers. But, there is more. There are also hidden figures, people outside the sector do not usually think about: set designers, costume designers, stage technicians, hairdresser.
Recognised or not, all of them are now in the same situation.
Precariousness is the keyword for theatre workers in Italy: from independent theatre to opera. Not legalized workers or freelancer, these are the roles workers mainly have in this sector.
It is clear, that an economic crisis puts all these categories in troubles. People have expenses, bills to pay, rent and they lost their job without knowing it in advance. Moreover, for those categories sparing money is really hard: their salaries are low and they are paid sometimes after months (1).
Easy to understand that the impact on performers and creative persons was destroying. The measure the Italian government has taken to manage the situation is 600 € in the month of March, for those who can show that they worked at least 30 days during 2019 (2). Nevertheless, as said before, many theatre workers are not legalized, that means that it is not easy to prove the work of the previous year.
There are more 1000€ for those who are freelancer for April. Still, same problem.
Also students studying theatre abroad or volunteers who are doing ESC in the field are now stuck, working only on what can be done staying 1/1.5 meter far from each other.
Being locked at home, with no money, with no chance to perform, with no opportunity to be in contact with the audience, what are theatres and performers doing in this period?
There are different online initiatives: theatres are putting on their websites some of the most famous shows in streaming, actors are performing on social networks, recording themselves playing monologues and inviting the others to do the same through the social challenges and online never-ending chains, singers are doing the same.
Many from every field are doing Instagram lives to discuss about disparate topics or to answer questions.
Many others are worried about what the theatre is becoming, since – important not to forget it – it has always been based on LIVE contact between the stage and the audience and everything coming before it, done of research, live brainstorming and discussions with colleagues and REHEARSALS and more rehearsals.
People of the field are worried for the next future.
Even if the lockdown finishes in the next months, likely nobody will go to a closed space, close to a stranger to see a show. The end of the tunnel is far away.
Furthermore, the average age of the people going to the opera is quite high: those more at risk of taking the virus (3).
Generally, there is a big concern about what will happen in the next months, in the next year, since the last one has been made of cancellation of shows and tours.
One nice proposal comes from the sector: supporting open-space theatre for the summer, where it is possible to have safe distance and people have no fear to go.
It could be one way to start to look at the future of this destroyed field.