A group of local theatre practitioners on Thursday submitted a letter to both the Secretariat for Social Affairs and Culture and Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC), presenting suggestions on how the government could help the performing arts industry hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement by the theatre practitioners sent to the Macau Post Daily late Wednesday points out that the novel coronavirus disease crisis had badly affected the theatre industry, many fellow practitioners have become unemployed and the city’s theatre groups are facing the huge burden of rental and operational expenses.
According to the statement, the theatre practitioners held a forum discussion at Hio Kok Experimental Theatre last week, where they came up with an “emergency rescue package” that the bureau could roll out, which includes measures such as extending the completion period of all 2020 cultural funding projects to the third quarter of 2021, allowing organisers to alternate the use of the funds for their activities, provide loans, subsidies or rental allowances, as well as release more cultural, educational and sport venues for theatre groups to use once the epidemic eases.
Other mid- and long-term suggestions for the development of the theatre arts industry include adjusting the government’s arts and culture subsidy system to the current situation, allowing for more flexibility on how organisers use the funds for their activities, and expanding the current training programme in arts management.
In addition, the statement urged the bureau to form a regular communication channel with the theatre arts industry, establish a social security system for theatre practitioners, introduce a tax reduction measure for cultural activities to encourage private enterprises to cooperate with arts organisations, and facilitate performing arts troupe residencies at schools.