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Layoffs At Actors Theatre Follow Coronavirus Cancellations

Justin Philalack

Actors Theatre of Louisville has made cuts to staffing following canceled performances and shuttered venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company's director of communications and patron experience, Elizabeth Greenfield, said  that while nearly half of patrons have asked their ticket purchases for canceled shows to be applied towards next season, the company has had to issue refunds for about 24% of sales.

"I can confirm that we’ve also executed layoffs, furloughs, and salary reductions in response to the economic pressures of this public health crisis," Greenfield said in an email to WFPL. "We hope these will be temporary measures and look forward to returning with our season whenever public assembly is once again safe."

Last month, Actors Theatre announced it was suspending its annual Humana Festival of New American Plays, canceling nearly 100 performances to help prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus. The theater company has been able to offer a few of the Humana premieres online.

The pandemic has created economic hardships across the Louisville arts community.

Aldy Milliken, executive director of the KMAC Museum and chairperson of the Greater Louisville Arts & Culture Alliance, told WFPL recently they've also furloughed several employees and everyone else is working on a reduced salary while public gatherings are not allowed.

“I think a lot of us who have cash flow issues, whether we’re private citizens, private artists or organizations, within two or three months, we might not be able to sustain our operations,” Milliken said.

The federal stimulus package designated $75 million to the National Endowment for the Arts and some local arts groups have been working on their own efforts to stay afloat. But there are real fears that the situation could get dire for a number of arts nonprofits in Louisville.