Setting the stage for reopening local community theatres
Local community theatres are beginning to reopen following coronavirus shutdowns, bringing the arts back to many coastal areas.
The stage is set for community theatres to reopen. Downstage Productions Theatre is especially eager to return in their new Gulfport location after COVID-19 postponed their original March opening and caused financial stress in the process. Trae Spears with Downstage Productions said, “Considering we don’t own the building and we are renting, we have been paying a fairly significant rent every month on a building we’re not using. So, it’s hard, it’s rough.”
Under current rules, the theatre can hold up to 50 audience members with social distancing, but as of right now, they’re patiently waiting for more guidance so they can allow more people in to enjoy the show by the end of this month. “As long as there’s no big uproar of COVID cases, new cases, I’m hoping they’re going to loosen the reins a little bit to let more people inside.”
Performer Sassy Miller is ready for the theatre’s return performance of ‘Steel Magnolias’ and to bring performing arts to the Orange Grove area. “This area has never had a community theatre up here, so they’re going to greatly benefit for this.”
As they stay involved with an upcoming children’s workshop and virtual concert, Downstage says theatre fills a need for people after months of isolation. “We’re just hoping this is going to be something that will probably re-energize theatre as a whole on the Coast, is that it’s been gone for so long now, people are going to want to get back out and see the live ventures.”