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'We want to keep playing': Triad actors, musicians, stage technicians hit hard by shutdown

Some are getting creative to put money in their pockets and to keep entertaining.

The lights are out and the doors are shut at theaters because of the Governor's executive order. The order aims to keep public spaces clear and reduce social interaction in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.

 It's put triad musicians, actors, and performers, who fill the stage at places like the Carolina Theater out of work too. Many technicians also have no source of income. Those of them who teach private music lessons to many schoolchildren are unable to continue in-person learning.

Now some are getting creative to put money in their pockets and to keep entertaining.

With the help of hi-tech gadgets and the internet, they're staying connected to their fans and students.

"There was some uncertainty that was followed immediately and how do we make this thing happen, how do we educate ourselves and how do we look to use our resources," said Julian Sizemore of Greensboro. Sizemore is a member of the local band The Mantras as well as a piano lesson instructor. He and his bandmate, Keith Allen, rig up a studio with their phone camera and a Go-Pro to teach and live stream their music performance. 

"After I just started to look for options when it seemed like it was inevitable that we were gonna be unable to come in contact with people who were not in our close circle, so I started just trying to see how we can hold our shows that were canceled and continue to teach lessons," said Sizemore.

"Trying to teach through all these various apps like Zoom, Skype and that has been my main focus all week for the last 5 days," said Allen who has about 30 students he teaches.

"Teaching music is a physical thing sometimes, showing people where to put their fingers and lots of close contacts so once we got word that close contact would be kinda prohibited, it was a scramble to figure how to still be able to do that stuff and not come in to close quarters with people," he added.

A number of local performers are also adapting to the situation, but say since bars and restaurants were closed to the public, it's been a struggle. 

"We are just really trying to get content out there and satisfy our itch to keep playing music," said Chris Hedrick, of the band The Wright Ave.

"When I did my live stream last week I had 40 to 50 viewers. We can tag our Venmo, PayPal, band websites for people to have the opportunity to donate money," added Hedrick.

The donations received through the live stream performances are helping them pay some of their bills.

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