California Community Theatre - Preliminary Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on California Community The
This is a follow-up survey (conducted in September 2020) to the March 16, 2020 original.
The first 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 're-connect' via a second survey at a six-month point of the pandemic to document what, how and why organizations were proceeding in their respective directions. Please note that responses here are as of October 4, 2020.
Has your theatre postponed a production, event or program due to COVID- 19?
"We need a definitive answer on when we will re-open. We are in limbo."
Has your theatre cancelled a production, event, or program due to COVID-19?
"We are adapting by producing a "Parking Lot Performance" of The Diaries of Adam and Eve in October. Jumping through insurance and City use permit hurdles and hoping that smoke, COVID, weather, murder hornets, or swarms of locust don't shut us down..."
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?
"Praying for a vaccine."
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
"Our next production had not opened at the Box Office yet."
"Obvious financial loss. Difficult to grow an audience base without conventional theatre.
With operetta as our our primary genre our patrons are predominantly older. Even after theater is deemed to be "safe" will this vulnerable population feel safe in returning to a live performance? Our earlier concerns regarding the development of a younger audience base has become even more critical to our survival."
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:
All volunteers are required to wear masks when working in the building and maintain social distance.
Our theater is run by volunteers. With the cancellation and postponement of our productions, we have not had any volunteer activity in that regard.
We are completely closed. As such, the volunteer board is acceptable staffing until the theater re-opens.
Total shutdown. No volunteers.
We have not ceased volunteer activities, we have meerly shifted to "alternate" forms of production and income-making activities.
Following county guidelines re distancing and use of indoor space. Instead providing ongoing online, videoed or zoom productions instead of regular season.
We ceased all except online meetings.
Has your theatre limited or closed office hours or activities due to COVD- 19?
"Like all, our theatres ours has been impacted financially, but we also have the resources to last a few years without any productions. I am sure this puts us in a far better place than most theatres in California. We have a telethon a children's 'scary' Halloween program and a Christmas reading that will be produced, all virtual of course. We are in the process of acquiring the streaming rights for some past shows and The Drowsy Chaperone will be available online soon. Donations are suggested for each production. We are assuming our theatre will be shuttered through June 2021 so are preparing some new ideas and shows we can stream. In short, and like the rest of you, we have had to reimagine what we do and how we can best thrive.
We wish all of our live theatre friends throughout California all our best."
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?
No paid staff. Volunteers are coordinating a successful series of online offerings (Go to www.svct.org/limelight_online for specifics.)
Focusing on repairs and maintenance of our facility.
We are an all-volunteer nonprofit Theater corporation. We were a month away from opening our next show of the season when we were informed that we had to shutter the Theater. Since that time the Board has written the Bylaws completely and also created some Policy/Procedures statements for the organization. We 'captured' all of the steps to the things we do. These will guide the Theater for our next 50m years. We have also been producing small pieces on video and playing them for donations, as well as getting permission to stream complete productions we have in our archives - free, donations only.
We have painted the building inside and out. Redecorated the lobby, improved the seating. Organized back areas. Repaved parking lot.
Fundraising and organizing storage space.
Promoting past productions, encouraging posts, keeping our name out there.
"Our main concern is that, although we were extremely healthy financially when we closed, in time we will need to produce an income stream to pay our bills. We won't be there for about a year more or so. But it's out there looming."
What is your current main concern for your theatre related to COVID- 19?
Having the ability to reopen.
We currently have a cushion of savings to last us through the end of 2021. Beyond that, if we are unable to re-open, we will probably face permanent closure.
Maintaining and growing our small audience base.
When can we safely present a full, live, in-theater production? Safety includes the audience, the performers, and the orchestra (we do operettas with full 25-piece orchestra).
We won't reopen until Spring next year, 2021.
That audiences will be very slow to come out. Especially the 65 & older crowd that makes up 70% of our audience base.
Our main concern is that, although we were extremely healthy financially when we closed, in time we will need to produce an income stream to pay our bills. We won't be there for about a year more or so. But it's out there looming.
Gaining lost momentum.
Our membership is down. It is driven in part by discounts (ticket fees, cast fees) which are not a benefit at this time. We also still have ongoing expenses (such as warehouse space) so maintaining a minimal income stream is important. Fortunately we rent our performance space from the city and our rental has been put on hold.
We are in very good shape through the next couple of years but have had to delay a long term expansion and to retain the funds.
"Although it gave us time to do some long-needed projects, the waiting is wearing on everybody. Our volunteers like to be busy — that's why they're members!"
If you have cancelled or postponed productions, is there any positive point or outcome of this ceasing of productions?
Sadly, absolutely no positive outcome from cancelling our season.
Nothing positive at all.
We have replaced productions. We cancelled our summer musical and replaced it with a Zoom production of Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play. We had to cancel 12 Angry Jurors but we have replaced it with an outdoor murder mystery event at a winery. Positive in having to learn new skills and thinking outside the box.
No production-related expenses.
Strengthened organizational skills.
No. Postponing a production has been terrible. We have a set onstage, props on tables, and everybody is on hold. The cast was two months into a three month rehearsal schedule. A lot of work to just come to a grinding halt. So, other than having the time to redo out Bylaws and create a series of guiding documents (which we had wanted to do for a long time) there really has been nothing to cheer about. We want to go back to producing LIVE theater!
Our organization has taken the opportunity to reorganize. New bylaws, policies and procedures have been re-written. The board structure has changed a bit and responsibilities for each position have been written done. We are soon to undertake a redesign and remodel of our Second Space, probably in late October. We are are reviewing all the productions we had planned which is neither good or bad. This slowdown has given us more time to discuss the direction and perhaps change in how we might approach future seasons and the types pf productions we might put up. Though we believe we have a good idea on the types of shows our small town enjoys.
Does this experience of addressing COVID-19 help motivate you to create procedures or plans for future emergencies?
"Our prayers go out to all of the theatres who are financially devastated by this closure."