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Live Theater Performers and Employees in France Struggle Since Lockdown Has Lifted

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This comes even after the French government announced an emergency fund of €22 million for the cultural sector, €5 million of which went towards live performance.

Live theater employees in France are struggling to stay afloat, even since the nationwide lockdown was lifted four months ago, France24 reports.

"We're trying to plan ahead and create things, but we don't even know what's still going to be open," says Mollie Keane, the co-founder of the theatre company Mumbo Jumbo. "It's difficult for programmers to programme new shows, because everything is unclear right now."

This comes even after the French government announced an emergency fund of €22 million for the cultural sector, €5 million of which went towards live performance. The country also extended the intermittent de spectacle regime through August 2021, which gives artists and performers a monthly salary.

But some performers do not think this is enough.

"Macron stabbed us in the back and then turned around and offered us a bandage," said Hagop Demirdjian, a jazz musician based in Paris. "They've done the absolute minimum: stopped artists from dying of hunger. But if they start to close restaurants, bars and concert halls again, then they're going to have to keep paying us until 2022. I don't know how they could do otherwise."

Beginning in June, theatres and concert halls have been allowed to reopen with social distancing rules in place, as well as health and safety measures. However, many are saying that this is not financially viable.

"This isn't sustainable in the long term," says actor Astien Bosche, who performs in improv show Le Grand Showtime at Le Point Virgule. "In our show, there are only three actors on stage. But with more actors, you simply can't perform at half-capacity. It's not cost-effective. You have to pay the actors, the production team, all of the related costs of a theatre. That can only be done with full theatres."

Read more on France24.

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