When the COVID-19 virus first emerged, we had no idea how much of an impact it would have on us. While children and adults alike faced problems in every part of their life, including school and work, there were multiple other industries being impacted that often went overlooked. Specifically, COVID-19 continues to heavily impact the entertainment and performance industry.
There are many reasons for the immense loss that this industry faced. To start, due to COVID-19's infectiousness and guidelines advising people to stay at least 6 feet apart, it was difficult to host large crowds and audiences for performances. This included plays, concerts, festivals, movies, and more.
Consequently, many jobs were lost and many stores and businesses were forced to close. Similarly, actors, musicians, and artists from around the world were unable to produce music, movies, TV shows, and other art forms, or connect with their audiences. These groups struggled with generating revenue for themselves because of the extreme circumstances that didn’t allow them to keep working.
This loss was extremely costly to the industry as a whole, and those who work in the industry. People were restricted on what they could do during lockdowns from their own homes, which had drastic mental, physical, and economic impacts. Further, many struggling artists had to ‘temporarily quit’ to pursue other jobs so they could provide food, housing, and other basic necessities for themselves and their families. Many artists chose to be content creators on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to try and make some money.
However, the impact extends not only to performers but to fans and audiences. The constant lockdowns and closures of venues including concert stages, stadiums, and theaters, restrict audiences from coming to view their favorite stars. As a result, those who are passionate about entertainment and the performance industry are unable to go see these shows.
This has effects on the general population as well. Multiple studies from around the world have shown how art, theatre, and music affect our brain by boosting chemicals in our brain such as serotonin. Which makes us happier and more satisfied. These studies have concluded how entertainment and the arts, overall improve the quality of life for those who view them. Even if the pandemic eventually ends, in the next few months or years, there’s no guarantee that fans and audiences will return to theaters, stages, and stadiums like they used to which could be risky for artists. All in all, the performance industry, and by extension our audience has suffered much loss as a result.
As a teen actor playing in theaters how has the omicron variant affected you?
"A year before this disaster named Covid-19 came i started acting and playing with the local teen team in theaters. I was finally happy and doing something i loved so much, the suddenly the pandemic starte. Those two years i spent without acting was awful. When finally the restrictions against covid start calming down and were ready to take off the masks, a new variant came that the scientists called it ‘Omicron’ the downfall started again. It was hard, i spent more time away from the theaters and i couldn’t wait until all this paranoia stopped. Those 2 years i wasnt able to act or take part into any plays due to the virus. Everything was forbidden due to it so was the theater"
Ann Karvasili, 16 years old, teen actress
As someone who is part of a music high school how has the omicron variant affected you?
"Due to covid our school was not able to participate in any festivals or any kinds of celebrations. When the measures kind of stopped and the vaccinations started we were ready to start new events for all this 1 and a half years that we lost. Everyone was so excited, busy taking part into new and different activities, celebrations and events. They were running around doing plenty of jobs to get everything ready in time. The orchestras and instruments did many rehearsals and the school invested a lot in these preparations. Suddenly some days before our first and big event the news announced new measures and restrictions due to omicron variant. Everything got cancelled, most of our events. The creativiness that was all through the air these days disappear"
George Gkotsi, 17 year old, vice president of students council.