Regarding Covid-19: A message from WIT’s leadership
From Mark Chalfant (WIT’s Artistic/Executive Director) and Goli Samimi (Board Chair)
All of us at WIT have been touched by the messages of concern and support coming in over the last couple weeks from folks near and far. It’s a great reminder of how precious WIT and this community are to so many people.
Since the coronavirus situation began, our primary concern has been people’s health and well-being. That’s why we cancelled the Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament, cancelled classes, showcases, and our fundraiser, and switched staff to telework. As much as we want to bring groups together to find joy and humor with one another, we can’t do that just now. It’s a terrible feeling and we miss each other.
Amid the onslaught of daily news developments, WIT is trying to stay focused on our people: the staff, performers, teachers, students, patrons, volunteers, and donors who all make this creative community possible.
We can’t wait to be together again. Until then you can help keep WIT and our community going:
Many are using this time to connect with people new and old. When we’re all limited to online connection, in some ways we’re all equalized. Your high school friend overseas is just as close as your regular brunch buddy who lives down the street. We talk a lot in improv about accepting every offer as a gift. Maybe a gift this time can give us is reconnection with people who mean something to us.
Follow WIT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and check the news section of the website for ways you can connect with others in the WIT community. You can also join the mailing list. Many folks in the improv community are exploring how to take, or create brand new, performances online. We’ll help shine light on these efforts as we also explore what we might do online in terms of classes.
We’re excited to share two new efforts:
- WIT has partnered with Perfect Liars Club, a local storytelling event, to present their first-ever online version of the show. On Monday, March 30 we’ll share four pre-recorded stories from four WIT improvisers—one of which is a lie. Then, during a live event on April Fool’s Day, you’ll be able to participate in an interrogation of the storytellers in order to sniff out the liar. The show features Lura Barber (Nox!), Jasmine Jiang (Madeline), Molly Murchie (Hellcat), and Kate Symes (LIZARD GIRL). Stay tuned to WIT’s social media for more.
- We have opened registration or a free, three-week course: Introduction to Online Improv. Taught by faculty member and WIT@Work Director John Windmueller, the workshop will be an opportunity to capture the joy of creating improv even as we are staying home. Learn more about the workshop and register here.
If you’re looking for ways you can help, consider supporting charities that are helping folks on the front lines, as well as patients coping with the virus. Here are some organizations to consider. You can also look in your community for mutual aid groups like this.
How is WIT doing?
A lot of people have asked about the economic impact on WIT, since we had to cancel FIST, our May fundraiser, and may have to miss a semester or more of our classes program. WIT has some operating reserves—we are not in a financial crisis yet—but each week cancels more revenue, which makes meeting our personnel obligations that much harder. Our priorities right now are:
- Keeping staff on the payroll. This keeps people connected with their health insurance, keeps the organization functioning, and keeps WIT poised to rebound when we get a signal that we can gather together again. Losing the know-how and institutional memory of WIT’s staff would be a huge blow for the organization so we are doing all we can to keep staffing stable.
- Helping contractual teachers, coaches, and directors who are in greatest need. For teaching artists and performers earning a lot of their income in the arts sector, much of their future income has now been cancelled.
If you’d like to help WIT remain stable please consider becoming a monthly supporter, at whatever level of giving is manageable for you. Reliable monthly support helps us immensely with future planning.
Thanks for being a part of WIT’s community. Stay home, stay safe, and stay tuned for what’s next. We’ll make it through this together.