New York City has launched a new council dedicated to addressing the challenges faced by its live entertainment industry. Mayor Eric Adams convened the inaugural meeting of the Live Performance Industry Council, a first-of-its-kind initiative that brings together leaders from various sectors of the city’s performing arts industry, including theater, music, and dance.
The council aims to support and drive growth in New York City’s creative economy as it continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is comprised of representatives from arenas, cultural institutions, unions, nonprofit organizations, and city government. Ken Sunshine, founder of Sunshine Sachs, and Coco Killingsworth, vice president of social impact at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, serve as co-chairs.
In a statement, Adams emphasized the significance of live performances in the city, stating, “Live performance has long been the heart and soul of this city. By bringing together leaders from across the industry and city government, we are not only supporting the individuals who make the live performance industry great, but also ensuring that New York City will always be a global creative capital.”
Killingsworth echoed this sentiment, describing the council as the beginning of an important conversation about the vital ecosystem of the live performing arts sector, emphasizing its role in attracting and retaining residents. She emphasized that the council will address both the challenges faced and opportunities for the future of New York City’s cultural scene.
Sunshine praised Mayor Adams for convening one of the most distinguished meetings of live entertainment leaders ever gathered together. He expressed the council’s anticipation of a range of solutions to the challenges faced in producing live shows in the city.
The meeting featured representatives from various city departments, including the newly appointed commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), Pat Swinney Kaufman, as well as leaders from housing, economic development, and workforce and cultural affairs.
The council consists of 52 members representing a diverse range of organizations and institutions in the live entertainment industry. These include venues such as The Public Theater, The Apollo, Metropolitan Opera, and Carnegie Hall, as well as producers from Disney Theatrical, the Nederlander Organization, and the Shubert Organization. Sports and entertainment complexes, including Citi Field, the New York Yankees, Madison Square Garden Entertainment, Barclay Center, and Lincoln Center, are also represented. Additionally, guilds, unions, and trade associations such as IASTE, Actor’s Equity, and the Broadway League, as well as cultural alliances and funds, are part of the council.
The formation of this council follows a cultural and economic impact study commissioned by the New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment four years ago. The study revealed that nearly 750 venues and organizations in the city’s live performance industry generated $1.3 billion in economic output, provided over 8,400 full-time jobs, and contributed to $512 million in wages.
This live performance council is part of a broader effort by the city to address the needs and support the growth of its entertainment community. It joins other councils dedicated to specific sectors such as TV, film, and digital games. Additionally, the city has initiatives like the Broadway Musicians Equity Partnership, an extension of the NYC Women’s Fund in Media, Music, and Theatre, and more.
With the establishment of the Live Performance Industry Council, New York City reaffirms its commitment to the performing arts and recognizes the economic and cultural significance of the live entertainment sector. By bringing together key stakeholders and decision-makers, the council aims to develop measures that will enable the industry to thrive, recover from setbacks, and continue to make New York City a global creative capital.