Local performance venues light up red to bring awareness to decimated industry

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Venues across North America are lighting up red to raise awareness for struggling performance businesses and advocate for a relief bill in Congress.

More than 1,500 locations across the continent will participate tonight in the #RedAlertRESTART campaign. Several in Kansas City will join, including the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Folly Theater and the Kansas City Ballet.

The campaign in the U.S. seeks to convince Congress to pass the RESTART Act, which would provide more financial aid to workers who have lost income because of the pandemic. Supporters want to extend pandemic unemployment assistance, which ended last month for many workers.

“Having over 50 performances canceled or rescheduled is difficult for any theater,” Folly Theater executive Gale Tallis said. “We are a small theater, a small nonprofit theater, and so we have had to furlough all of our crew, our house managers, our box office personnel. It’s been very tough because they are family. Most of them have been with us a very long time. They are part of our Folly family.”

The RESTART Act would offer 90%-forgivable loans and would not penalize industries for part time work by providing grants based on gross revenue, not payroll.

Recipients of the loans would have less than 500 full-time employees, and have suffered a decline in revenues of at least 25%. Organizations would have 16 weeks to spend the money.

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