On March 13, the Community Arts Center officially went dark. The Williamsport Symphony Orchestra cancelled their rehearsal and their performance that Saturday night. Sanitizer stations went unused in the lobby, while music stands and the piano were left on stage.

They were there for two months.

Finally they were moved off stage, not for a performance, but for a long scheduled replacement of the stage floor. A rigging inspection followed as did cleaning of the basement and replacement of the roof.

There have been no performances since then. All national tours were cancelled or postponed.

Still there is some hope. Recently restrictions in Pennsylvania were changed to allow us to do performances at 15% capacity. This December, almost nine months after we went dark, we are going to tentatively reopen.

For very small crowds in a big room with a very limited schedule.

Doing so will require cooperation from both patrons and performers. As per the Governor’s restrictions, the CDC’s guidance and the policies of the Pennsylvania College of Technology, masks will be required upon entry (no exceptions) and worn while seated. Seating will be spaced to allow social distancing. Patrons will be asked to sit in groups of 1, 2, 4, or 6 in every other row. Temperature checks will be required at entry. People with a fever will not be allowed entry. Stagehands will take temperature checks. Performers will be distanced from the audience. Sanitization stations will abound. It will be different from the last time you were at the Center, and not ideal.

But it’s what we have and it’s our only way forward, for now.

The last thing the Community Arts Center wants, the last thing performers want, the last thing our Volunteer ushers want, the last thing the Box Office wants, the last thing the stagehands want, is for the Community Arts Center to make anyone sick, much less become the site of a superspreader event.

So we must do these things together. We must be strong together.

Or stay dark.

If you love live performance as we do, please help us get there.

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