FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) – The 2020 season of Northern Sky Theater will never happen.
The professional Door County company has canceled its fall indoor season in the new Barbara and Spencer Gould Theater.
Previously canceled was its full summer slate of outdoor and indoor productions, including the world premiere of “Love Stings.”
The company planned to present “Naked Radio” in September and October and its presidential election-year tradition “And If Elected” in October.
According to a press release:
The company cited ongoing concerns about the COVID19 pandemic, limits on gatherings, union restrictions for its company of actors and the welfare of its large volunteer base of support. The decision comes after the company analyzed numerous scenarios, including the financial ramifications of socially-distanced seating, which would limit attendance to 25 percent of Gould Theater’s 250-seat house.
“We attempted to hold off as long as possible in making this difficult decision to allow time to gather more information and to give the performing arts industry a chance to work through some of the parameters that would allow for a safe and enjoyable experience for both our company members and our audience,” said Dave Maier, managing director. “It now has become clear that, just as for most public gathering venues, this guidance and go-ahead will not be available until after we would have scheduled the start of rehearsals. Making this decision now also allows us to more fully embrace our virtual season and advance our new works process going on behind the scenes – the lifeblood of Northern Sky.”
Northern Sky Theater plans a virtual season that includes a concert July 17 in honor of outgoing board chair, Mary Seeberg; a performance of music and spoken word called “The Healing Session,” hosted by actress Lachrisa Grandberry on July 26; and its “Northern SkyLights” series, a selection of highlights from past performances. The virtual season includes a weekly live presence through Facebook and Instagram with “The Jeff and Katie Show” and “Northern Sky at Home” series through email and social media.
“Although this decision weighs heavily on our staff and board, we have been buoyed by the support we’ve seen from our fans through our virtual series,” said Jeff Herbst, artistic director. “And we’ll need that support going forward more than ever, as will our cast and crew. The continued financial support from our patrons will not only ensure we can keep the new works coming but will also help us support the livelihood of our artists.”
The company was poised to celebrate several anniversaries in 2020, including 50 years of performing in its outdoor home in Peninsula State Park, 30 years as a professional company, and its first full season in Gould Theater.