TAMPA, Fla. — In a place brought to life by song and dance, it’s almost eerie to see how quiet things are now.
What You Need To Know
- Straz Center among venues with fewer employees, less revenue
- COVID relief bill will help with operations costs, building maintenance
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“We had about 17 broadway shows lined up, we’ve had to cancel over 1,000 performances,” said Judy Lisi, CEO of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.
They went from 500 employees, to 100, and the $30 million normally brought in to the Straz Center each year is now down to practically nothing.
“Our orchestra couldn’t perform, our ballet couldn’t perform. All of our comedians and all of the national performers, they stopped because they couldn’t travel,” said Lisi.
But now, there’s hope.
“It’s going to be the bridge to get us to when we can reopen again,” said Lisi.
The COVID-19 relief bill signed by the president on Sunday allocates $15 billion in grants to live entertainment venues.
At the Straz, that money will help will operations costs, building maintenance, and adhering to health safety guidelines.
“It is a lifeline, it’s going to be a lifeline for us, it’s going to be a lifeline for smaller theaters like our little stage works, for our other large concert venues, for all of us,” said Lisi.
A lifeline for the thousands impacted to bring the life back to the theater.
“The arts help us to celebrate the best that we are and help each other through the worst times as well,” said Lisi.
The goal is to have the Straz back up and fully operating by September of next year.