Stage Directors Foundation Launches Emergency Fund

Closed broadway theaters during the coronavirus pandemic on April 08, 2020 in New York City - Getty - H 2020
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Over 500 directors and choreographers have lost jobs in the wake of pandemic-related shutdowns.

The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation on Thursday unveiled the creation of an Emergency Assistance Fund to aid members of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. Combined with SDC’s own relief program, the fund will provide more than $300,000 in aid to affected members.

SDC is a union that represents about 4,300 professional stage directors and choreographers throughout the U.S., including those working on Broadway and national tours, off-Broadway, New York nonprofit theaters, and various regional houses nationwide. More than 500 members lost work immediately as the crisis hit, with more job losses expected.

“Under the leadership of President Sheldon Epps, SDCF has been dedicated to offering access, opportunity and community to directors and choreographers at all levels of their careers,” said union president Evan Yionoulis. “SDC is deeply grateful for this fund, which will provide immediate relief to SDC Members who have been affected by COVID-19 to help them during this most difficult time.”

An SDC spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that In March the Executive Board of SDC allocated monies to provide income relief to members whose work had been interrupted or cancelled due to the shutdown and that inspired members to go a step furhter and create the SDCF fund.

“Theater artists, like all arts professionals, are reeling right now,” said Hamilton director Thomas Kail, one of the donors who helped launch the new fund. “Community is particularly important for those of us who can’t practice our craft in isolation. For directors and choreographers, SDC has always been a place where our collective strength matters. My colleagues and I are grateful to all who have joined us in showing solidarity through this fund.”

The fund was established through leadership gifts from SDC members Marc Bruni, Rachel Chavkin, Michael Greif, Kail, Susan Stroman, Evan Yionoulis and Josh Lehrer & Jeffrey Seller. Additional gifts were made by Liz Diamond, Andréa Burns & Peter Flynn, Sue Lawless, Des McAnuff, Jason Moore, Bartlett Sher, Seema Sueko, and SDCF Trustees Mark Brokaw, Sheldon Epps and Linda Hartzell. A portion of this fund is earmarked for New York City-based members thanks to a donation from the Howard Gilman Foundation.

Those wishing to donate may do so here, while members in need can find additional information on the SDC Member Portal.

4/10/2020 3:15 p.m. updated with detail on the SDC's own efforts in March.