‘Red Alert Restart’: Live performers look for federal support during pandemic

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Live performers are struggling to make ends meet. They can’t perform in front of big crowds because of the pandemic. That’s why venues nationwide are lit up in Tuesday night. Performers want to see Congress pass the “Restart Act, which could help them get back on their feet.

Actors and event workers told us it’s been a long couple of months, and all they want to do is get back to doing what they love.

Hertz Arena is glowing red along I-75 in Estero Tuesday to help performers take a stand.

“It’s tough. As someone who loves to perform, you certainly miss the performance,” said Mark Vanagas, an actor in Naples. ‘And the opportunity and camaraderie and teamwork that goes into creating a piece of art and that fulfillment is gone right now.”

“People are trying to figure out how to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table,” said Corey Eastbrook, the director of We Make Events.

Vanagas, who normally performs at the Naples Players, says that’s why the “Red Alert Restart” movement is so important.

“I’m extremely proud that we aren’t just sitting back and letting other people do the talking for us,” Vanagas said.

They are bringing awareness to Congress to help provide financial assistance to the people in this industry that need it.

“Here in Collier County, there is no city funding or county funding for arts and culture and very limited state funding, so that national budget is really our only hope,” said Bryce Alexander, the executive artistic director for Naples Players.

And performers want to remind everyone this impacts more than just the people on the stage.

“We make events,” Eastbrook said. “You’ve got catering, you’ve got trucking, not only people pushing cases and lightening designers here at the area ushers and concessions, hundreds of people that have a job because of the one show.”

“Seventy percent of these event workers are missing a 100 percent of their income right now, which is so substantial,” said Ali O’Connor, with Hertz Arena.

The director in charge of the “Red Alert Restart” event says they have up to 1800 buildings across the country lit up red.

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