The Center for the Performing Arts is attempting to gauge how comfortable potential audience members will be in returning to performances in the coming months.
President/Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey McDermott said the response rate has strong from the survey, which was sent to patrons. The Center has been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We want to gain peoples’ thoughts about what their concerns are,” he said. “When we open back up, it’s going to be a little different, just as different for restaurants and businesses. We want to control expectations. We think the opening should go pretty seamlessly.”
The staff is the final stages of creating a document about reopening procedures and protocols.
“It sets up for the future in terms of trying to be able to pivot with each new change we encounter and be ready to take any upturns or downturns in what might come,” McDermott said.
Staff has been working remotely but will return July 6. Educational programming and some rental events will start first, McDermott said.
“Our resident companies will restart their programming, so we’ll start to ramp back up,” he said. “It won’t be a full schedule right away. Our patrons and our resident companies’ patrons have to get acclimated to the new normal. Larger events will start a little later in the year.”
McDermott said the Center plans to learn from smaller programing.
“It will certainly be a somewhat abbreviated Center Presents (2020-21) season, but we will still come back strong,” he said. “I’m going to anticipate there is still going to be some social distancing involved. We are working on how seating will work within the venues as well.”
In other performing arts news, the Cool Creek Concert Series will not be held this summer at Westfield’s Cool Creek Park. Hamilton County Parks Resource Development Specialist Don Nicholls said there might be concerts at other Hamilton County Parks this fall.
“If the make-up concerts can be logistically arranged — the event team is still in negotiations with bands and agents — they will not involve the multitude of activities that require the space that Cool Creek Park provides,” Nicholls said. “If we are able to offer the concerts this fall, they will be free to the public.”
Nicholls said the decision not to hold concerts was extremely difficult.
“In the 26 years of the series, the popular concerts have never been wholly suspended,” he said. “The park staff consulted with health officials, continually monitored the impact and lingering health threat created by the pandemic, paid close attention to other community event decisions, met multiple times and then presented details to park board members, who unanimously voted to suspend the concerts out of an abundance of caution and for safety concerns for all concert participants and our community.”