I am a freelance puppeteer and run a private puppet theater with my colleagues in Leipzig without city funding or financial support from the Free State of Saxony. Due to the corona crisis, I can neither appear in the theater nor perform agreed guest performances – and I am practically completely without income, even though my order book is full.
If I accept the game income from the puppet theater in the same period last year, the loss will be 5,500 euros by March 20, due to terminated contracts an additional 3,600 euros. If the show is banned until May 31, losses of EUR 2,400 are added. If the period lasts until June 30, an additional loss of 2,130 euros will result.
In summer, the income is lower. Theater professionals need the surpluses that are generated between October and April to cover the fixed costs in the warm months, i.e. theater rent, electricity, telephone and KSK. It quickly becomes tight on the account, even if you could build up reserves.
We exchange information, participate in petitions, are members of the Association of German Puppet Theaters and are also given information about our profession there. The problems are similar everywhere and you are not alone with the problems.
There should be support for creative artists, for freelancers and self-employed people, who can generally build up little reserves. Even interest-free loans are of little use to us: They have to be repaid and only postpone the problem into the future, because those who earn just enough income to survive and can only generate income equivalent to basic security will not be able to repay loans. So my request to politics is: an unconditional basic income for a limited time.
I can understand the decisions made by politicians to curb the spread of the coronavirus, they are absolutely necessary. However, if the situation continues for a long time and there is no political support, there will be no cultural and creative industries after the crisis – and we will become social cases with private bankruptcy.