Announcement: July 16, 2020
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company Announces Updates to the 2020-21 Season Due to Pandemic Challenges
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Cincinnati Shakespeare announced a revised season that returns in November 2020 and continues into spring 2021 with a slate of Shakespeare titles.
Cincinnati, July 16, 2020 – Today, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company along with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, issued a joint announcement that they will delay the start of their 2020-21 seasons due to the complex challenges around continuing live performances. All three theatres plan to kick off their revised seasons this winter with a smaller slate of rearranged, rescheduled or new shows.
In addition to the current ban on mass gatherings in Ohio, the nonprofit theatres must finalize viable plans to play to lower audience capacities for social distancing, communicate with theatre’s professional unions (such as Actors Equity) about performing safely and put numerous, new safety protocols in place.
With so many of the same challenges and the cross-over between audiences, the artistic leaders of the three organizations – Blake Robison (Playhouse), Brian Isaac Phillips (CSC) and D. Lynn Meyers (ETC) – indicated that they are working together to present consistent opening plans and safety guidelines.
The three leaders also announced that COVID-19 safety measures – including intense cleaning, longer runs to accommodate social distancing and other protocols – will be in place when the theatres open, but specifics will be announced closer to opening dates, since the overall situation and guidelines from the state of Ohio and the CDC could change. They noted that further adjustments to their schedules could become necessary to ensure the safety of patrons, artists and staff, which is of the utmost importance.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s hopes to reopen with the annual holiday favorite EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD followed by a spring filled with beloved Shakespeare titles, and to close the season with the return of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company hopes to return with the much loved holiday tradition EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD (AND THEN SOME!). “This show, which has run at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for over a decade, would be a wonderful way to welcome back our patrons, who we have greatly missed during this time,” said Brian Isaac Phillips, CSC Producing Artistic Director. “Typically EVERY CHRISTMAS runs for only a few weeks in December but we are presenting it over 6 weeks to allow for many more productions with smaller socially distanced crowds.”
Then, beginning in 2021, CSC will present a rearranged slate of Shakespeare titles to bring the company back to its roots and reset. “We had just announced our 2020-21 season only days before the pandemic reached Cincinnati and while we are disappointed that we cannot present that season in its entirely right now, we are excited to welcome back our patrons for these flagship Shakespeare titles” said Mr. Phillips. The first production to be completely halted due to the pandemic before it could even begin was the much awaited production of HAMLET featuring Sara Clark portraying a reverse gendered Hamlet. “This is an important one to us and we are thrilled to begin 2021 with this production…finally!” said Mr. Phillips. This will be followed by the previously announced romantic and traditional production of ROMEO AND JULIET featuring Courtney Lucien and Crystian Wiltshire as the star-crossed lovers. That is followed by the announced slapstick production of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS inspired by an old Las Vegas world and featuring Geoffrey Warren Barnes II and Justin McCombs.
And then, to close the season, CSC will reprise the production that was halted only weeks into performance of Kate Hamill’s adaptation of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. “This show had already become the most popular production in Cincinnati Shakespeare Company history before the Governor’s order on mass gatherings was made on March 12. We think it will be very fitting for us to close this triumphant season with the return of this much loved and very jubilant production” said Mr. Phillips.
All of these productions will run for extra weeks to allow for additional performances and smaller socially distanced crowds. The cancelled productions will be moved to future seasons. All subscribers and ticket buyers will be contacted after October 1, 2020 to discuss options for this revised season.
A detailed line-up of the 2020-21 season is included below and available at cincyshakes.com. In addition, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will continue to present its robust Education and Outreach programs in person and online in the schools and communities of the tri-state.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the new shows and dates for the 2020-21 Season?
We have announced the below tentative schedule for the 2020-21 Season. It is very important to note that as pandemic conditions are frequently changing, this schedule may change as well. We will keep you informed of future cancellations and rescheduled performances as they occur.
EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD (AND THEN SOME!): November 19 – December 27, 2020
HAMLET: January 15 – February 21, 2021
ROMEO AND JULIET: March 5 – April 11, 2021
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS: April 23 – May 23, 2021
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: June 4 – July 3, 2021
Why did you delay the start of the 2020-21 Season?
There are several different factors that specifically affect performing arts organizations that make reopening unique difficult for us. They include:
Legal – there is still an active ban on mass gatherings in the state of Ohio.
Financial – reopening with social distancing restrictions makes our business not viable and we are working on alternative plans.
Partnerships – For safety reasons, the professional unions we work with are not allowing their membership, such as actors and designers, to return to work yet.
Ethical – we, as an organization, do not believe the pandemic is at a place where we can prioritize the health and safety of audience, artists, and staff while hosting indoor theatrical performances.
I already subscribed to the previously announced 2020-21 Season- what does this mean for me?
All of the currently announced shows has been cancelled and/or rescheduled so unfortunately, any dates and tickets to the previously announced 2020-21 Season that you currently hold have been cancelled. And while the new season, right now, has less shows included overall, we want to assure you that the full value of your subscription will remain. We will work with each of you to come up with a solution that meets your needs. This will include options to use extra tickets on these shows, on future seasons, receive a credit on future purchases, make a donation to support Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, or request a refund.
When will I be able to request a credit, donation, or refund?
Due to the frequently changing landscape of this pandemic, there is a very real possibility that conditions will force us to make further changes to the 2020-21 Season. For this reason, we will not be processing any credits, donations, or refunds until October 1, 2020. We will reach out to you at that time to discuss next steps. By waiting until October, we will hopefully have better, more updated information on how the pandemic will affect this season into 2021 and save you from having to make multiple requests and take extra steps. We are all in this together and are very grateful for your patience during this time.
I am not a subscriber, but have tickets to a cancelled production, what does this mean for me?
The same reasons we asked subscribers to wait to make any requests apply to single tickets as well. Pandemic conditions are in a state of flux and we ask that you please wait until Oct. 1, 2020 to request any changes. We will reach out to you when you are able to indicate your preferences. Thank you in advance for your patience.
When you do reopen, what measures will you take to keep audiences safe?
The safety and well-being of our patrons, artists and staff are our top priority. As such, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will follow all measures required by the City of Cincinnati, the State of Ohio and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those measures will include intense cleaning, hand-sanitizing stations, social distancing, and other safety protocols. Where things currently stand, it’s likely that patrons will be required to wear masks at the theatre, but those specifics will be announced closer to opening dates, since the overall situation and guidelines could change.
How will social distancing work in the theater?
Social distancing within the theater is a very complex challenge, and we’re still working on the details and procedures necessary to make it work. We are also hope to add additional performance dates to spread out audiences over more nights to allow more people to see the show but in smaller groups.
What if I renewed for 2020-21 but decide later that I don’t feel comfortable attending?
That’s no problem — we understand how unpredictable our circumstances are right now. If you decide you cannot attend a show, you’ll be able to donate your tickets, transfer them to a gift certificate for next season, or get a full refund. Either way, you don’t need to decide now as the request process won’t begin until Oct. 1, 2020.
If I don’t feel safe attending, will there be an option to stream the performance from home?
There are many complex challenges to recording live theater that range from technical to contractual. We are exploring options and will make sure you know all of your options should streaming or recorded performances be available.
What happens if there are further cancellations or postponements?
Unfortunately, in the current situation, that is a strong possibility. That is why we are asking your patience to wait until after Oct. 1 before requesting any changes or refunds for your tickets or subscriptions. We will endeavor to keep you updated on changes as frequently as possible.
When do single tickets go on sale?
Right now there is no on sale date to be announced for single tickets. Note that whatever the date will be, subscribers will receive priority booking opportunities before the general public as promised.
How can I support Cincinnati Shakespeare Company during this difficult time?
We are very grateful to our patrons and audiences for their continued patience and support. As a small business that relies on mass gatherings that bring people closer to the stage than ever before, we are struggling in this pandemic. Our remaining staff is working tirelessly to try and keep our business solvent and ready to reopen. We ask that you continue to exercise patience and understanding as we all weather this storm together. We also are more reliant on donations for support than ever before. Please consider making a fully tax deductible donation to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company so that we can be here for you in the future. Learn more online here. Thank you.