One of the greatest unknowns we are wrestling with today is the question of how to return safely to the rehearsal hall to create next season’s stories. Before we are ready to invite an audience to return within our theatre’s walls, we must first assemble an onstage story in rehearsal. To do our jobs, actors must speak and move in close proximity to one another. Directors and stage managers must freely converse and interact with artists, technicians and crew. Even protected by masks, we aren’t ready to do that yet.
Once necessary conditions are satisfied, such as a lower rate of diagnosis and widespread testing for confirmation, we could return to the rehearsal hall in preparation for our November-December show, THE CHRISTIANS. There, we will implement a strict regimen of health monitoring, surface cleaning and increased air-handling capacity, as well as the maintenance of physical distancing and masks.
Regarding audiences, current municipal guidelines require that assemblies must be limited in number, following recommendations based upon square footage and a percentage of overall venue capacity. Because the virus is transmitted primarily through airborne mini-particles, we are studying our facility’s air handling capacity and enhanced filtration. But to be clear, we will not open our doors until our safety protocol measures match or exceed the most up-to-date standards.
The coronavirus continues to signal its determination to occupy the country, while we see more opening dates throughout the performing arts community being pushed back. Conditions have inevitably brought the theatre world into the realm of the virtual for the time being. Beginning with short video messages from artists and managers, performing arts companies are now exploring the infant art of producing a play, a musical or concert with absolutely no one in the same room. As we plan contingencies for the coming season, Next Act will also delve into the creative possibilities that this alternate technological medium can offer.
Like our colleagues, Next Act is committed to bringing our patrons the 2020-21 season in the highest quality possible. Whether it’s through active video or live performance, the 2020-21 season is still ON. With any luck, we will finish the season with the joyous comedy RED HERRING in front of large crowds of hungry theatre fans! We look forward to sharing it all with you.
Now, more than ever, we thank you for your understanding and tremendous support.