Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center Lights up for RESTART


Courtesy School of Theater

Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center, all known as the Playhouse.

The Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center was illuminated in red last week to support the entertainment industry and spread information about the RESTART Act. 

The red lights symbolize the entertainment industry and the thousands of events that began to shut down starting in March due to the pandemic.

On Sept. 1, thousands of buildings, venues and spaces turned on their red lights across North America. 

According to the national movement, We Make Events, the live events industry has an economic impact of over $1 trillion as they reach over 12 million people annually to the United States, but 96% of entertainment companies have cut staff in the past year. The movement is also asking for a continuous extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides additional funding to those currently out of work. 

Marshall’s School of Theatre was also affected by the pandemic as the production of Sense and Sensibility was cancelled in March and moved to October. 

Ally Fletcher, a senior theater major, said she hopes that the School of Theatre and Dance gets to continue with the production and the upcoming radio shows this school year. 

Howard Lang Reynolds, school of theatre director, said it is important for Marshall University to participate in this national movement.

“I was enormously concerned about our kids,” Reynolds said. “This movement helps a group of people who do not have a collective voice.” 

Marshall theater students are doing their part in social distancing in hopes of normality in the theater. 

“Watching our industry shut down as quickly as it did during this pandemic was the most terrifying thing I have experienced,” Fletcher said. “What makes it even scarier is the fact that we do not know if we will be able to come back from this.” 

Reynolds said the directors are having some interesting times during rehearsal.

“When you are acting on stage you have to maintain a distance that changes the whole dynamic, but the problems are not always physical,” Reynolds said. “The students are going to miss the idea of an audience for a semester or possibly the entire school year”.

See more about We Make Events efforts to pass the S.3814 – RESTART Act for small businesses at 

Xena Bunton can be contacted at [email protected].