Senator Tom Carper Announces Bill Providing Funding for Entertainment Venues

MILTON, Del.- The Milton Theatre has a rich 110-year history and today it was the site for an announcement from Senator Tom Carper.

Carper introduced the Entertainments News Credit Opportunity for Relief & Economic Sustainability Act, OR Encores Act.The proposed bill would match 50% of ticket sales refunded. Venues that have less than 500 employees would be eligible.

"We have not done anything to help live music venues," Carper said. "And they are a big part of the fabric of our community. The arts are one of the things that unites us as people and raises our spirits and helps us look up to the future with hope."

The arts and entertainment industry thrives in Sussex County during normal times. Milton Theatre's Director Fred Munzert is grateful for the support of his venue and others who are in troubling times.

"This has devastated all areas of our economy and the arts and the venues is certainly what is important to us coming back," Munzert said. "Any kind of relief that any venue can get is good for survival to stay in the mix and either continue or reopen because many are still closed."

The Milton Theatre usually sells about 60,000 tickets each year. They are projected to only sell 10,000 this year with the limited seating mandate.

"We just did a survey of our folks and surveyed over 30,000 patrons, and one of the responses that came back really impressed me," Munzert added. "It said we need you more than you need us. I just feel like the arts is so important."

Milton Theatre is currently operating at 30% capacity. Shows are scheduled throughout August and September. This funding would stop a potential permanent curtain call for venues here in Delaware across the nation.