Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 24, 2020

Pandemic pushes CTC schedule back one year

In response to the ongoing pandemic, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre has moved its entire 2020-21 season one year down the road.

The new season was due to open in September with “The Sound of Music.” The CTC’s performance is now scheduled to debut in September 2021.

The CTC selected the 2020-21 season before the crisis hit, and said it could not stage the majority of the shows with the necessary safety precautions.

“We have to consider the safety of not just our audiences but also our volunteers onstage and behind the scenes,” the organization said in a newsletter this week.

The CTC had two productions – Agatha Christie’s “The Hollow” and Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” – ready to open in March when the pandemic hit, but put both of those on hold indefinitely.

“As the crisis evolved, it became clear we couldn’t stage them in the current climate. Our audiences want to see them, but even streaming options are out of the question because we have to consider the safety of our volunteer actors, who can’t physically distance themselves onstage,” the CTC said.

The CTC hopes to revive both shows in 2021.

Although the stage at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre might be quiet at the moment, the CTC is anything but inactive as it endeavors to move ahead with “a good deal of caution and a fair amount of savvy and vision.”

“We’re looking at opportunities in the fall and winter to produce non-musical plays with small casts that can be pulled off with physical distancing without compromising the artistic integrity of the shows.”

The CTC said it believes it can exceed the recommended safety standards by reducing audience capacity to 33% and seating patrons more than 6 feet apart.

In addition to installing touchless faucets and overhauling the HVAC, the CTC intends to redirect foot traffic to avoid crowding, conduct temperature checks, institute no-contact ticketing, require masks and sanitize before and after performances.

“We’ll enact those protocols when it’s safe and ethical for us to open our doors again.”

The CTC is also exploring options for presenting community arts performances on its riverfront lawn.

“We will weather this storm,” the newsletter concluded.

Source: Chattanooga Theatre Centre