Irish Equity has called on theatre organisations across the country to follow the example of the Abbey Theatre, which suspended its performances earlier this month and continues to pay staff and artists already contracted for a production. Irish Equity Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “The live performance sector has had to close down due to the COVID-19 crisis as theatres, gigs and events are all cancelled without, in most cases, any payment for crew and artists. “Despite recent challenges, the Abbey Theatre is leading the way in this very difficult situation for artists and for workers across the country. It has committed to paying staff and artists already contracted for a production. The national theatre is also launching a digital project which will allow the industry to demonstrate its genuine creativity, keep speaking to the nation and keep artists engaged and supported.” She added: “This is made possible because the Arts Council continues to support its funded projects to enable continued payment for artists and for creative work to continue. Equity is now calling on other creative organisations to follow this lead in finding ways to continue to support crew and artists. “Theatre in Ireland has always been at the centre of our national identity. During this most challenging of times it is needed more than ever.” Arts and Culture Sector workers are among those deeply affected by the COVID-19 crisis through pay and job losses. They, along with all trade union members, stand behind their colleagues in the health, retail, transport, utilities, manufacturing and other sectors who continue to work on the frontline throughout this crisis. The dedication and bravery of these workers will ensure our society and economy is in the best position to quickly rebuild once the emergency has ended