‘Red Alert’ campaign lights up Kansas City venues to help live event workers
"KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Concert Halls and theaters all over Kansas City were lit up red Tuesday night as part of a nationwide movement called Red Alert.
People who are used to being behind the scenes back stage were stepping out to remind Congress they are still out of work.
“We’re always proud that if you don’t know we did the work we did our job. The problem is now we need you to know that we exist that we make this happen behind the scenes,” Lee Saylor, Folly Theater Technical Director, said.
It took dozens of stage hands to put together the display at Hyvee Arena. It was all volunteer but for many the closest thing to their jobs they’ve been able to do for months.
Similar displays were visible at Starlight Theater, Folly Theater and the Kauffman Center, joining 1500 performing arts venues around the nation saying they and their bank accounts are on red alert.
“There’s small events happening and the artists are starting to be able to express themselves again which is really phenomenal but that doesn’t support our industry. None of the venues are opening up to have people inside of them because a lot of people don’t want to run that risk of being the one to get people infected and I understand that completely,” Kristina Banton, a Kauffman Center lighting designer, said.
The past 6 months 95% of live events have been cancelled due to COVID-19, crippling a trillion dollar a year nationwide industry. That industry includes several hundred Kansas City members of Local 31, of the International Alliance for Theatrical Stage Employees.
Now they are asking Congress to extend and expand Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and pass the Restart Act.
“We don’t want to just blast through and have events because we need the money we want to be able to support our families and live so when the events come back we can still do them,” Banton said.
The social media push has also asked people to post their favorite pictures from live events with a red tint added to it."