(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Marc Levine (D – Marin County) today announced legislation that will help seasonal live theatres across the state as they prepare to resume in person production. AB 1227 (Levine), would classify temporary workers at seasonal live theatres as independent contractors, providing needed flexibility for actors, musicians and others working in the creative economy.
California’s creative arts economy was brought to a halt in March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the shutdown of nearly every sector of the economy. The economic impact of the shutdown was especially harmful for the arts sector. A 2017 report from Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity found that of just fifteen cities and counties in California, nonprofit arts and cultural production generated $4.5 billion in economic activity, 132,705 jobs, and $431.5 million in state and local government revenue.
Actors, musicians and crews that work in live theatre would be the first to tell you that their industry does not fit a traditional work model. Live theatre productions in California generally run from several days to a few weeks. Classifying these workers as independent contractors will provide them with the flexibility they seek and help local theatre owners more efficiently resume in-person production when it is safe to do so.
“This legislation will help community theatre get back on a sounder financial footing when we are able to reopen after the pandemic is over,” said Katie Wickes, President of the Board of Directors for the Marin Musical Theater Company. “We are grateful that Assemblymember Levine stepped up to support us.”
Over 100 community theatres, many run as non-profit organizations currently operate in California. Several thousands more for profit live theatres are an essential part of California’s world class creative arts economy.
“California live theatre inspires us, provides needed cultural enrichment and has a significant impact on our state’s economy,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine. “As we look toward a post-COVID future, AB 1227 will be an important part of ensuring the long-term sustainability of seasonal live theatre across the state. Theatre operators, actors, musicians and crew members agree that they need the flexibility provided in AB 1227. I look forward to working with the creative arts community to help raise the curtain on this issue that will help live theatres thrive across California.”
AB 1227 will be considered by the State Assembly later this Spring.
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