Emergency relief fund created for MN backstage professionals

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Organizers of the Theater Emergency Relief Fund say the work of design and production workers create the backstage magic which make state shows pop. The fund is offering $1,200 grants to those workers as long as funds remain.
Courtesy of Bill Cameron 2014

The newly created Theater Emergency Relief Fund begins taking applications this week for grants specifically aimed at Minnesota theater and dance production and design professionals.

The fund is being managed by the Minnesota Fringe which will take applications through its website Dec. 31 through Jan. 15.

Fringe Executive Director Dawn Bentley said these behind the scenes workers are responsible for creating much of a performance’s magic. She said they are gig workers who have been hit hard by the pandemic which shuttered theaters 10 months ago.

"Those people have been without work since March, and they are often forgotten in some of the relief packages," she said.

An anonymous donor came forward with enough funds to offer at least 55 grants of $1,200.

The Fringe is also raising funds to offer more grants, and as of Dec. 28 had raised enough for at least another 15.

“I think these folks are struggling right now,” said Bentley. “And we realize that $1,200 isn't going to be life-altering but we're hoping to at least offer a little relief."

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