The California Community Theatre (CACT) Preliminary Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact survey was sent out in the first half of March 2020, when recommendations began to require the reduction or ceasing of gatherings of 50 more people in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Since the time the survey was originally distributed, vast and rapid regulations and guidance have further impacted the operations and productions of many California community theatres. It was important to allow theatres to 'connect' via a survey in the early stages of the pandemic to document what, how and why organizations were proceeding in their respective directions. Please note that responses here are as of March 23, 2020.
California Community Theatre will conduct another survey in the future, when there is additional information and dialogue available regarding the actual long-term impact of this crisis.
Has your theatre postponed a production, event or program due to COVID- 19?
"So many tears from the cast that was going to open next week. What a pity that their work, and the beautiful scenic and lighting designs will never be seen by the public."
Has your theatre cancelled a production, event, or program due to COVID-19?
"There will be a long term impact that no one can predict...lost revenue, yes. Will we lose Patrons, Season Ticket Subscribers, etc. We will have to wait and see. In the meantime, we have a Committee (meeting by conference call) to look for ways to increase sales once thing "normalize"."
If you have had to postpone or cancel a production, event or program due to COVID- 19, have you been in contact with relevant licensing companies to discuss royalty impact?
"I personally believe a lot of the recommendations have gone too far, but we do not want to be the cause of further infections."
If you have had to cancel a production, event or program due to COVID- 19, how have you handled ticketing? Please check all that apply.
Offering patrons to donate purchased tickets
"It is a sad time for our community of artists."
Has your theatre ceased volunteer activities due to COVID-19?
If you answered yes to the above question about volunteers, please describe what restrictions you have made:
No gatherings, no Board meetings, individuals can work in theatre building as needed with social distance.
We have limited access to the theatre on a must need only access at this point. Will revisit as guidelines change.
Small committees are free to meet. We have not put restrictions in place.
Canceled all events until further notice.
Not meet in groups. Meet outside. Only there as necessary for patrons, should they come in.
We have cancelled all rehearsals. We are figuring out what backburner maintenance and repair projects could be accomplished in this unexpected downtime and asking specific and small groups of volunteers to help with those. The board and various fundraising groups are meeting by telephone.
All Ushers, House managers and box office volunteers have been notified of postponements.
Our volunteers are welcome to come into the theatre to create, paint, repair, etc
We closed our theatre doors to any group or any persons for the month of March and will be keeping them closed until further notice.
Bay Area in shelter-in-residence. We can't do anything at least until April 7.
Has your theatre limited or closed office hours or activities due to COVD- 19?
"This will have a long-lasting impact on our productions. The entire season has been impacted, cash reserves are near zero, and we are afraid that audiences and donations will be slow in coming back. The next few months will determine if we can continue to operate as a theater company."
Has your theatre limited or closed box office hours or activities due to COVID-19?
If you have cancelled or postponed productions and also if you have paid staff, how are you managing time and tasks with the unknown timeline of resuming productions? In other words, what are you focusing on without a production in session?
We do not have paid staff, but a few committees like marketing are coninuing to function.
Our ticket system is totally online or by phone.
Cleaning storage and summer prep.
Focus on notifying patrons, keeping paid box office person working, organizing during down time.
We have laid off some staff. For others we are finding the back burner projects that there is suddenly time to work on (costume/prop/sceneshop upkeep; updating our archives; updating procedural manuals/job descriptions/forms etc).
Notifications via phone or email.
We still have a show in production, one in rehearsal and a childrens 'program & show approaching. We canceled our June show which was just about to begin production. Therefore, we have room and flexibility to reschedule current events as necessary.
We are carrying on as usual, figuring out what to do with the season we have planned for. We just voted to shut down late last night, so this is in process.
We are focusing on contacting everyone via email and phone instead of in person. As we have a lot of events in person, we are working to manage how we can progress from this in the next few moths and if we should cancel our May show.
"I think it's a vast over reaction and the economic impacts are devastating."
What is your current main concern for your theatre related to COVID- 19?
Age of patrons, great percentage are elderly.
Finances. We are going to lose 35% of our annual income. Now we have to figure out how to keep costs down and make a serious fund raising effort to make back as much of that 35% as we can.
Rehearsals under way for summer show. If we can't rehearse, we can't do the show. So even after the effects of COVID-19 may be dissipated, we won't be rehearsed so can't do the show. Unclear if public will "get" that.
Actors getting sick.
Loss of revenue from now-postponed shows threatens the financial viability of the company.
Losing Money, and if we can get back, will people even want to see a theatre production?
The uncertainty as to how long this will go on, recession that will force us to lower ticket prices when we can barely keep our bottom line in the black already.
"We hope that the urge to keep people clean will make a theatre experience better but also we hope that we will just get back to what we want to do best: entertain people."
If you have cancelled or postponed productions, is there any positive point or outcome of this ceasing of productions?
The show postpone has more time for actors to solidify their lines.
I find no positive points or outcomes.
Working on online curriculum.
We were running behind with certain aspects of production, costumer was ill, etc.
We have moved one production from this May to next May. I expect most of the production staff and cast to stay with the production, so I have one less show to staff for next season and my royalty cost for next season will go down a bit.
Respect from patrons.
The upside so far is that digitally resistant Board members are coming around to the utility of our existing tools for working together remotely. Right brain people are discovering their left brains!
There was a production slated to open Friday the 13th (of March) and the reactions to their dress rehearsal were met with negative reactions due to lack of direction and professionalism and we felt it was a blessing in disguise.
It will make (the same program to be produced next year) a little easier to produce. Many of the directors and actors are, as of now, hoping to be able to put their shows back together next year so we'll be starting from scratch on fewer. We'll see how that all pans out as we get closer.
Does this experience of addressing COVID-19 help motivate you to create procedures or plans for future emergencies?
"Aside from the financial stress, we are learning more ways of working together."