(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 4/1; Photo: Among the playwrights commissioned to write short plays that can be read or performed by people sheltering in place:  Jordan E. Cooper, left, Michael R. Jackson and Aleshea Harris.Credit…From left: Ike Edeani for The New York Times; Grace Rivera for The New York Times; Nathan Bajar for The New York Times; via Pam Green.)

Nonprofits around the country plan to commission works of no longer than 10 minutes that can be read or performed by people sheltering in place.

Now they find themselves confronting a situation they never could have imagined: leading their theaters through a global pandemic.

On Wednesday, the new arts administrators from four important American regional theaters, joined by the Public Theater in New York, said they would commission a set of short plays from writers whose financial lives have been upended by the shutdown of arts organizations as people stay home to contain the coronavirus. The theaters said they had two major goals: to steer a bit of money to struggling artists and to inspire new work at a tough time.

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