January 14, 2021

Senator Hassan, Representative Kuster Heard from NH Entertainment Industry Leaders on Challenges They’re Facing Amid COVID and Discussed Additional Federal Funding Headed to NH Venues

NEW HAMPSHIRE – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan and Representative Annie Kuster held a virtual roundtable this week with leaders of New Hampshire’s entertainment industry where they heard from participants about the challenges that they are facing and discussed the additional relief that Senator Hassan and Representative Kuster helped secure in the latest COVID-19 relief package to help New Hampshire’s live-entertainment venues, independent movie theaters, and museums. The package included key provisions of the Save Our Stages Act, which was cosponsored by Senator Hassan and Representative Kuster, that provides grants to live venues and theaters to help these venues retain jobs and stay afloat amid COVID-related losses.


Union Leader: Help coming for NH venues with Save Our Stages

By Damien Fisher

New Hampshire’s performing arts venues, movie theaters and other cultural institutions are getting more help to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to a $15 billion allocation for the Save Our Stages program.


“We know the arts and entertainment industry has been hit hard by the pandemic,” U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan said Tuesday during a video roundtable discussion with New Hampshire venue operators.


[…] Alex Ray, owner of the Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center in Plymouth, has seen the number of his employees go from eight to 12 to two since the pandemic started.


“We really do need help,” Ray said.


[…] Lebanon Opera House Executive Director Joe Clifford is worried the latest round of COVID-19 relief will not be enough. The funding might last for a couple of months, but theater productions can take several months to a year to get off the ground, he said. Clifford already furloughed his whole staff.


“The stimulus money will help us to restore some of those jobs, but how much runway are we buying ourselves,” he asked.


[…] U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster said that with older citizens getting priority for COVID-19 vaccinations, venues might get their audiences back sooner.


WMUR: Performing arts relief funds might not be enough, some officials warn

By Mike Cherry


As part of the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, Congress earmarked $15 billion for entertainment venues, but some New Hampshire organizations said it might not be enough.


U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster and U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan on Tuesday listened to the mounting concerns of some of New Hampshire's most prominent art venues.


"We're also the home for up to 12 different community arts organizations in the Upper Valley," said Joe Clifford, of the Lebanon Opera House. "They call our stage home every year, and I don't know if they'll make it through."


The Save Our Stages is expected to help, but entertainment officials said the money might not be sufficient to retain New Hampshire's talent. […]