SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – The performing arts community has faced a series of challenges throughout the pandemic, but as they say, ‘the show must go on’.
Asolo Repertory Theatre has overcome several adversities throughout the pandemic. The theatre in Sarasota was forced to cancel ten performances of the musical “Hair” last month, including on opening night after COVID-19 breakthrough cases and other illnesses among crew and cast members.
It was part of the theatre’s highly anticipated return to the indoor stage after closing its doors in March 2020. Last season, the company brought performers outside for a series of shows, but patrons were eager to get back into the theatre.
“We are excited now to be in full performance mode and we run through January 1. We really are leaning on our really extensive safety protocols and making sure that we are following them to a T. The company is testing on a regular basis, mask-wearing throughout the building, all of those kind of elements are all in place and I think as we continue to lean on those, that is what is going to keep ensuring that we are able to do live performances,” Asolo Rep Marketing Director Angela Lakin said.
In addition to the rules among the fully vaccinated staff, volunteers, crew and cast – patrons must follow stringent guidelines. Everyone who enters the theatre is required to mask up. During a mandatory screening process, each individual must show either a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination.
“As part of Safe Arts Sarasota, us along with seven other arts organizations here came together and decided to establish the protocols that we all could follow together to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our patrons, staff and crews,” explained Lakin.
Patrons we spoke with following Wednesday’s matinee show told 8 On Your Side they appreciate the strict safety measures.
“I wouldn’t come otherwise. It is a simple as that,” said Marcia Rosenberg.
“I think it is essential. Especially now we know that there’s a new variant and we are older and you know, it is good to be safe,” said patron Angelica Redleaf. “The first time I had ballet tickets, I had forgotten my picture of my vaccination card and I couldn’t go in. I know they are being really serious,” she continued.
The 2021-2022 season kicked off with ‘Hair’ last month. For more details on the show, tickets, and the rest of the season, visit Asolo Repertory Theatre’s website.