Los Angeles Daily News: Small theaters, lawmakers, call on Newsom to sign bill to help them ‘thrive’

Two senators, one assemblymember, artist labor leaders, several social justice advocates, and activists as well as actors of every stripe gathered at Boston Court Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 8. But when the curtain rose on a rally exhorting Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign SB 1116 into law, all of them were simply theater kids.

“We have to make sure we do everything we can to make theaters thrive,” said Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge. “Theater matters and live venues have been under siege by COVID. We’ve done great strides, but we are still underfunding the arts relative to how important it is. Let’s get this bill signed.”

SB 1116, which would create a payroll fund to support small, nonprofit performing arts venues, passed out of both houses of the California State Legislature and is awaiting the governor’s signature. Qualified nonprofit theaters would get reimbursed for payroll expenses, with the smallest and most vulnerable venues getting the most help.