From yesterday's Washington Post:
Yes, that's a nearly $19 million budget for Shakespeare DC. They're one of the biggies, and they're laying off staff.
The unemployment rate for artists is lower than that of the general population, but it's growing at a faster pace. The National Endowment for the Arts reported that the unemployment rate for artists shot up 2.4 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared with the same quarter a year before. (In the overall workforce during the same period, unemployment was up 1.9 percentage points.) Sunil Iyengar, the NEA's chief researcher, says 74,000 artists -- from dancers to actors to musicians -- left the workforce during the quarter.
[...]The trick in cutting, several organizations say, is to do so without diminishing the quality of the performances and the productions. The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington cut $1 million of its $18.9 million budget in November, in part by dropping five administrative employees; it's reluctant to cut more. Deeper reductions might produce "a downward spiral" that jeopardizes the loyalty of its core audience, said Chris Jennings, the troupe's managing director.