WT Current Statement Regarding COVID-19
Update posted August 19, 2020
Our multipronged approach to reopening at Writers Theatre
At Writers Theatre, your health and safety is our first priority. Our responsive producing model for the 2020/21 Season allows us to wait and only reopen for live performances when it is safe to do so for our artists, staff and audiences.
Our facilities and audience services teams have been hard at work for months researching and planning for the best ways to maintain healthy practices at the theatre once the threat of COVID-19 is reduced enough to reopen.
To that end, we have developed a three-pronged strategy for reopening:
- We have already been hard at work researching best practices for the industry
- We are in the process of stocking up on the necessary materials to enact safety procedures
- We are in the process of educating our staff, artists and audiences about how to stay safe and healthy at WT
- We are upgrading our equipment in our spaces to reduce risk, including updated air filtration technology and touchless appliances
- We are modifying our space by installing additional partitions at the Box Office and hand sanitizing stations throughout
- We are making plans to clean and disinfect all areas on an increased schedule
- We will be implementing staggered schedules for all who use WT facilities to cut down on unnecessary crowding
- We will enforce practices that reduce risk such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and temperature checks
- We will be providing regular updates to you, the patron, when we are able to confirm additional specific steps that keep you safe
It is important to note that the plans outlined above will change and evolve as more information and guidelines become available through federal, state and local governments, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and public health organizations over the coming months. We will continue to update our plans appropriately and we will share more specific information with you as we get closer to first performances.
The Season Ahead
While we don’t have specific dates to share just yet, we can share that we do not plan to produce in our theatres until early 2021 at the soonest. Knowing that we will only reopen once it is safe to do so, you can book your season package today with confidence that we will welcome you back with your health and safety in mind. We are also actively looking into possibilities for streaming productions and other digital programming.
Don't forget, the final renewal deadline is Wednesday, September 30.
Update posted July 23, 2020
Writers Theatre has made the difficult decision that The Last Match and Manual Cinema's Mementos Mori cannot be produced this 2019/20 Season due to the impact of COVID-19 and related restrictions.
For the safety of our audience, artists and staff, we do not plan to produce in our theatres until early 2021 at the soonest. When we do reopen, we will do so in accordance with industry and governmental regulations.
Below, Writers Theatre Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Artistic Director Michael Halberstam address questions about how COVID-19 has impacted the company and how we are looking forward to a future where we can once again come together to lean forward and engage.
Last month, WT put out a statement saying that the final two productions of the 2019/20 Season, The Last Match and Mementos Mori, were suspended until further notice. Are there any updates?
MICHAEL HALBERSTAM: Yes. We have come to the realization that we cannot responsibly produce The Last Match and Mementos Mori this season. It was a very difficult decision to make, but now that we've made that call, we are focusing our energies on working to innovate how we produce theatre at this challenging time for arts organizations and make plans for our upcoming season.
Can people expect to see The Last Match and/or Mementos Mori produced in the future?
MH: We really do hope so! At this point, there are several scenarios on the table to do just that. There was such a tremendous amount of excitement surrounding both of these productions, and both teams were doing incredible and exciting work. It is possible that one or both pieces may end up in the upcoming season or even a future season.
How has the day-to-day of WT been affected by COVID-19 and the resulting government regulations?
KATE LIPUMA: This pandemic has affected not only Writers Theatre, but the entire performing arts industry across the country in ways we could not have imagined. Our work is driven by the notion that we all believe it is important for people to come together for a shared experience of a live event, and of course with everything going on, we cannot do that right now. When the government started making recommendations that restricted our ability to work in our building, the entire staff, including box office associates, was able to transition to working from home in the span of maybe 3 or 4 days in order to maintain operations. Our offices are empty, and our theatres may be empty - but we are working hard to look ahead and remind ourselves that this is only temporary.
How are you planning ahead? What will the 2020/21 Season look like for WT?
MH: The global situation has challenged us to think even more creatively than usual about how we produce a season of programming in a safe and responsible way for patrons and artists alike. For that reason, we are in the midst of developing a new responsive model of producing for 2020/21. This new flexible model will allow us to more nimbly accommodate for extenuating circumstances, should they arise. And in terms of the art and the artists in next season's roster? We are returning to our roots and focusing squarely on the word and the artist as our primary sources of inspiration. While staying true to our mission, we are planning to bring you an array of entertainments that will lift your spirits, inspire your imaginations and stir up your souls.
How can audiences engage with WT in the meantime?
MH: If you don't yet follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, now is the perfect time to do so! You'll find a variety of content being shared on our channels, including stay-at-home lesson plans curated by our Education department for all ages, a look back at top WT moments over the years and more.
Until the theatre is back to its regular mode of operation, are there ways to help WT?
KL: Yes! As a not-for-profit organization, we always rely heavily on charitable contributions - but this is an unprecedented time that requires extraordinary support. Without any shows running, we are unable to support any of our operations through ticket revenue, so right now donations are the most direct and immediate way to ensure that Writers Theatre will be able to weather this current storm, and also continue producing for many years to come. Click here to support WT today!
In whatever way you can help, we need your support to come through this and be in a strong position to once again bring you incredible, intimate and engaging theatre on the other side.
Click here to give to WT today.