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Local stage performers amidst COVID

Who are the local stage performers?

Local stage performers are those singers, dancers, and theatre artists who perform on occasions like Christmas, Janmashtami, Holi etc. These people get a chance to showcase their talent on stages. They do not travel to other states and mostly perform in their town or city. Just because of this reason, they are called local stage performers. Mostly, they play in a particular locality or take part incompetitionsto earn prizes that are useful for their future. Many times, they are given some amount of money that helps them purchase their bread for a few months. This is a kind of occupation that employs many artists.

Effects of COVID

Many people are becoming unemployed during this period of COVID. The local stage performers are some of those who are suffering from this outbreak. They are among the first ones who were impacted adversely due to COVID.

Because of COVID, there are no social gatherings held. No crowd is allowed to gather in any place of the country. These local artists used to perform in such social gatherings which is now prohibited. They are losing their employment. Many stage performers got some amount of money from these gatherings. Now, all this is not possible. Also, after this Corona period, nothing will get back as to what it had been a few months earlier.

Many theatre performances have been cancelled due to this pandemic. Almost all theatres have been closed since the lockdown started and till date, there is no sign of relief for these theatres.

These theatres had already charted out their entire schedules for the upcoming months, but all this became useless with the rising fear. The shows had to be cancelled, and the payments received through pre-bookings had to be refunded.

A stage artist told us that their entire hard work had been ruined. Theyhadworkedday and night and prepared themselves for the shows that were scheduled to be destroyed rather than be shown on the stages.

Poor results of COVID on local artist’s earnings

  • Those dancers no more dance in any public gatherings. Hardly any singer gets a chance to sing in any function nowadays. No roadside plays or nukkadnataks are taking place in this crisis.
  • Some students who are graduating from theatre courses are also suffering because of this lockdown. They are not able to perform or practice any dance or play. This is affecting their study and carrier as well. Even when this lockdown opens,their losses can’t be compensated.
  • Since these stage artists and local performers have lost their means of livelihood, they are unable to pay rents of their houses. They are forced to leave the rented rooms because they can notpay their dues. The land-owners hardly care about the pathetic conditions these stage artists are facing.
  • We all know that Mumbai is a hub for struggling actors and actresses. These actors and actresses don’t get their roles right after coming to Mumbai. They have to wait for several months, or in worst cases, several years to get a satisfactory role. Till then, they have to earn their livelihood anyhow and hence, and they are forced to do part-time jobs such as acting and dancing in some events or parties or weddings. Due to the spread of Covid-19, they are now deprived of these small earnings also.
  • Moreover, in the absence of any income, school fees of their children are also due. In such a case, there is a constant fear that their wards may be expelled from the schools.

Measures to make up for their living:

We all are aware of this fact that the COVID is going to make us feel its presence for a long time, and getting back to normalcy is now a dream for many. The entire economy has been ruined, and so is the economic sector related to theatres and acting. It is now a bit difficult for the bosses to pay their actors and actresses since these bosses themselves have not earned much during this period of lockdown. As a result, the stage artists and local performers too, will not be getting any income shortly. They, themselves, have to work their way out to earn a livelihood. Though the path is not easy, it is not that it can never be travelled. Let us take a look at some of the steps these local performers and stage artists may work on to manage their livelihood:-

YouTube channels:- The period of lockdown has seen a massive rise in the videos watched on social media platforms. One such famous platform is YouTube. Anyone can create his or her channel and start showcasing his or her talent.

Use swadeshi apps for promoting the talent:- Apart from YouTube, other Swadeshi apps can prove to be a great help for these local performers. The government is also planning to launch a bunch of more such apps for the convenience of the public. These local performers can record their videos and post it on these platforms and hence, earn some money.

Live classes for teaching their talent:- These local performers can also turn to show their talent through live courses. These live classes can be taken with the help of applications such as ZOOM app, or the newly launched SAY NAMASTE app.

Bottom line:

It is a known fact that this pandemic will not leave us for a long time, and hence we must get used to its adverse effects. Now, it is up to the public as to how it tackles the problem and make its way amidst this crisis. Once the lockdown gets over, these local performers may get back to their normalcy once again. But, in an unlikely case, if they do not get a chance to showcase their talent on the stage, then they can atanytime, take help of the social media platforms to showcase their talent and garner attention of the masses. This way, they will gain popularity, and most importantly, they will have a source of income to feed their family, as well as themselves!

Mousumi Sachdeva
Author: Mousumi Sachdeva

The Author of The Pride of Being Different, Love Remains Undefined and Making Impossible Possible, and the Poet of The Blend of the Real and Imagination(Poetry Book), Mousumi Kalita Sachdeva serves as Skill Development Trainer, author, an international poet, a columnist, motivational speaker and the Editor at Damick ,a Self-Publishing House and the Traditional Publishing Head Editor of Turquoise Publication.