This past weekend, the Mass. Cultural Council Executive Director Michael J. Bobbitt caught a glimpse of what post-pandemic theater might look like during a visit to the Berkshire Theater Group’s indoor rendition of “Nina Simone: Four Women.”

“Seeing that show where everyone had to prove that they were vaccinated and then everyone wore masks for the whole time — I felt completely safe after,” he said. Also comforting, he noted, were the amount of people who seemed to feel the same way.

“The house at the Berkshire Theater Group was virtually packed,” he said, “so I was happy to see that there was less trepidation.”

Bobbitt joined GBH’s Boston Public Radio on Monday, where he talked about how the state’s arts sector is faring in the post-vaccine, pre-herd immunity era of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though he expressed an excitement around the long-awaited return to indoor shows, Bobbitt was somber when speaking to what he described as a “cultural depression” of the past 18 months.

“It’s really one of the hardest things,” he said. “The layoffs, the number of artists that I know have left the sector or moved out of state. ... I think is a pretty big threat to our state. We need those artists to stay here.”

Back in March, the Cultural Council reported $588 million in losses for the state’s nonprofit and municipal cultural organizations, along with 30,000 lost jobs. Bobbitt said the study’s reliance on self-reporting, paired with an additional five months of pandemic uncertainty, has meant losses are easily “much larger,” though he wasn’t able to offer a concrete number.

That being said, the industry is making a gradual comeback throughout the Commonwealth. In addition to the Berkshire theater, last week 14 regional theater groups announced they’ll be requiring audience members to provide proof of vaccination before entry. They include the American Repertory Theater, the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Central Square Theater and the Huntington, among others.

“If that becomes part of a regular process of attending arts events,” Bobbitt added, the state’s arts sector might just be able to climb back to its pre-pandemic prominence.

And that’s good for the overall economy too, he said.

“The thing about the arts that many people don’t think about is that when you go to consume art — if you go to a play or concert, you may be buying a new outfit or getting your hair done or your nails done. You certainly are getting in some mode of transportation, so you’re spending money on gas or parking or public transportation. And then maybe you go to a restaurant before and then the bar after,” he said.

"There’s so much secondary spending that supports all these other sectors in the Commonwealth — or any region that you’re in — and that’s why investment in the arts is important,” Bobbitt said.