Public Health Update
As of July 27, 2020
On June 3 we canceled the remainder of Village Theatre’s 2019–2020 season, including all performances of Hansel & Gretl & Heidi & Günter and The Wedding Singer in Issaquah and Everett as well as the final two weeks of She Loves Me in Everett.
The deadline for indicating how to process your canceled tickets was July 31, 2020. Remaining tickets will have their value converted into a donation, and tax receipts will be sent.
Questions, concerns, or missed the July 31 deadline? Call the box office at 425-392-2202 (Issaquah) or 425-257-8600 (Everett) from 11 AM–5 PM Tuesday–Friday or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We recognize that every situation is different, and we are committed to finding a solution that works for you.
Village Theatre’s 2020–2021 season, originally planned to start in September 2020, is postponed. While we do not have an exact reopening date, resuming performances in May 2021 seems most likely given the information we currently have. As of now, we still plan to present the titles already announced. This is, of course, subject to change as the pandemic and recovery continue to unfold.
Why this decision was made:
- The four-phase Washington state reopening plan doesn’t include live theatre until at least phase four. As of mid-July, King and Snohomish counties are in phase two with no indication of when we might progress. Newly diagnosed cases per capita are rising, not falling, and there is even the possibility of moving back to phase one. (Source: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/)
- Singing is a “super spreader” of droplets carrying airborne COVID-19. Even if we could socially distance audience members, it’s very difficult to sufficiently distance performers and crew members. Face coverings are impractical or impossible for singers and pit orchestra wind players.
- Other performing arts groups have come to similar conclusions. Broadway has announced that no shows will return until at least January 2021. Several regional organizations in Seattle and around the country have postponed or canceled their 2020–2021 seasons. Two theatres in Utah and Texas (non-union) that have resumed musical theatre performances now have confirmed COVID-19 cases in their casts. The professional unions for actors and crew members have strict safety protocols and health metrics that must be met before their members return to work—protocols no indoor venue is yet able to meet.
- It takes time to put on a show. Unlike touring productions, each Village Theatre show is custom-made and rehearsed right here. We build sets, create costumes, and rehearse starting two to three months before opening night. This work involves dozens of people in a production shop or rehearsal studio, which in turn means there will be a lag between when in-person gatherings are safe and when we can welcome back audiences.
WHAT THIS DECISION MEANS FOR OUR STAFF
One of the most heart-wrenching consequences of the pandemic is the loss of work for much of the Village Theatre family. Since March 12, Village Theatre has laid off or furloughed 176 people on our payroll including performers, musicians, crew, and year-round staff. Nineteen remaining staff are working reduced hours and ten are operating on salaries reduced by 10 to 30 percent, with higher-paid positions taking larger percentage pay cuts.
This is the first time in our 41-year history that Village Theatre has undergone layoffs. Though many arts organizations across the region and country are in a similar position, that doesn’t make it any easier to say a forced goodbye—however temporary—to beloved colleagues.
A GLIMMER OF HOPE
Despite these formidable challenges, there are still exciting, joyful, meaningful programs at Village Theatre while the Frances J. Gaudette Theatre and Everett Performing Arts Center are dark. Of our three facets—mainstage, new works, and youth education—two are still going strong.
Our new works program remains active and imperative to the future of the musical theatre genre. Much new work development can be done digitally: writing sessions, residencies, readings, and conversations with artists are vital and very much alive during quarantine. We will continue development on a few shows that already have a relationship with Village, as well as introduce some new pieces to our process. We will announce specific artists, projects and programming soon; depending on the specific needs of each writing team, some presentations will be closed and some will be open to Village Originals members and/or the public. Although the August 2020 Festival of New Musicals is canceled, we are planning a triumphant return to an in-person Festival—our 20th!—in August 2021.
In youth education, the intrepid KIDSTAGE team has successfully undertaken a herculean effort to move spring and summer programs online. Back in March, existing year-round programming transitioned to digital formats almost immediately. In lieu of canceled in-person spring classes, online “Zoom into Spring” programs sold out, and the enthusiasm of families and students was astonishing! “Zoom into Summer” soon followed and has served 565 students so far—with a month of classes still to come.
Thank you so much for your support of Village Theatre. We can’t wait to see you again soon to share in the joy of live musical theatre.
Summer Camps/Classes are all taking place online! We have many exciting choices to offer!
ALL THAT GLITTERS: Planning to reschedule. Please check back with us for more information.
ALADDIN: Rescheduling for a hopeful early fall run. Stay tuned for updates.
13: Planning to reschedule. Please check back with us for more information.
SUMMERSTOCK in both Issaquah and Everett are cancelled.
WEST SIDE STORY: Auditions are postponed until early 2021. Stay tuned for updates.
Institute/Pathway classes will likely be held online via Zoom in the fall. Please know that we are closely monitoring the recommendations from both the CDC and the Washington State Department of Health and working on plans to get students onsite as soon as it is safe to do so.
Our virtual classrooms will be focused on developing technical musical theatre skills, as well as community building and artistic development. Instructors will emphasize student connection, problem solving, and creativity which are essential for personal and artistic growth. The online curriculum will use a variety of tools to keep students physically active and provide opportunities for students to apply their technical skills to creative activities, helping them grow artistically.
Depending on which social distancing mandates are in place, one of the plans we are exploring is the possibility of classes to resume onsite at 50% capacity (less than 10 people in a room). If that were the case, students would alternate between onsite and online classes: a student would attend onsite classes one week and then attend classes via Zoom the following week. Other formats are also being explored and students will be notified once we have further information.
The 2020 Festival of New Musicals is canceled. We look forward to seeing you in August 2021.
Our Beta production of The Homefront is postponed until further notice.
Francis J. Gaudette Theatre
Box Office: (425) 392-2202
303 Front Street North
Issaquah, WA 98027
Everett Performing Arts Center
Box Office: (425) 257-8600
2710 Wetmore Avenue
Everett, WA 98201
COVID-19 hours (phone & email only)
11:00 am–5:00 pm