TUSCALOOSA, AL – As the world prepares to re-open under strict, new public health guidelines, Theatre Tuscaloosa’s leadership, in cooperation with Shelton State Community College, has crafted a plan for presenting programming for the immediate future and beyond that complies with all local, state, and national guidelines for reducing the spread of the coronavirus.

Executive Producer Tina Turley said, “Providing the high-quality work that our community has come to expect in the safest possible manner is our goal. To that end, we have put together some special programming to spread joy and accomplish our mission under less than ideal circumstances.”

Theatre Tuscaloosa’s mission is “To elevate the consciousness of theater in the greater Tuscaloosa community by providing quality theater opportunities for people interested in participating in live theater and contributing to the cultural education, entertainment, and enrichment of the community through attending live theater.”

The following plans have been put in place to allow the theatre to continue pursuing its mission in a way that reduces the risk of spreading the coronavirus:

  • The final production of the 49th season, Mamma Mia!, is postponed until July 2021.
    • Theatre Tuscaloosa remains fiercely committed to presenting this joyous show when it is safe to do so. A show of this magnitude (large cast, elaborate sets/costumes/lights/music) requires a large audience to off-set the monetary investment required for its production. Thus, presenting this show under current social-distancing mandates is not feasible.
    • Ticketholders will have the option to keep their tickets for the postponed performance, make the value of their tickets a tax-deductible donation to the theatre, exchange the tickets for flex vouchers redeemable for any show through July 2022, or receive a refund.
  • Between October 2020 and the presentation of Mamma Mia!, a series of three high-impact, low-cost shows will be presented under an initiative titled “Spreading Joy.”
    • Each show will feature casts with fewer than five performers, allowing rehearsals and performances to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.
    • Performances will be short in duration (less than 90 minutes each) and will be presented without intermissions.
    • The run of each show will include one weekend of performances, rather than the usual two.
    • All tickets to each show will be reserved in advance, by phone, without payment, starting two weeks prior to each performance.
    • Patrons will be asked to make “pay what you will” donations on the day of the performance they attend. Touchless options such as Venmo, Paypal, etc., will be made available for donations.
    • Seating for “Spreading Joy” performances will be reserved by phone in advance to ensure 6-foot distancing between parties. There will be no at-door sales.
    • Reasonable precautions (guided by event and performing-arts industry recommendations and local, state, and national advisories) will be undertaken to protect public health as defined at the time of each performance and will be applied to all parties present including cast, crew, staff, and audience members.  These are likely to include specific, assigned arrival and departure times, temperature checks upon arrival, wearing of face coverings, social distancing, extra sanitation of the facilities, extra availability of hand-sanitizer and/or disinfectant wipes, etc.
    • Concessions will not be sold.
  • A series of three concert-style events are also being planned.
    • Titled “Sundays are for Singing,” these concerts will each feature one singer/performer and an accompanist.
    • Tickets, seating, and public-health practices will all mirror the “Spreading Joy” programming.
  • A series of educational programs will also be presented on the theatre’s YouTube channel.
    • Titled “Masterclass Mondays,” these video presentations will feature a variety of Theatre Tuscaloosa staff, designers, directors, and performers, sharing their insights into a wide variety of theatrical topics.
    • A new video will “premiere” every other Monday starting in June and run through December, 2020.
  • It is expected that Mamma Mia! will signal a return to business-as-usual, following our usual policies and procedures. This is subject to change based on evolving circumstances.
  • Although subject to change based on the previously mentioned evolving circumstances, the official 50th anniversary season will launch in fall 2021.
    • The 50th season will feature mainstage shows representing each of the five decades of Theatre Tuscaloosa’s history under the theme “Times Have Changed.”
      • On Golden Pond (1980s) – fall 2021
      • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2010s) – winter 2021
      • Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1990s) – winter 2022
      • Rumors (2000s) – spring 2022
      • Anything Goes (1970s) – summer 2022
    • Two special events will be held at the Bama Theatre in recognition of the role it played in Theatre Tuscaloosa’s early years.
      • Always… Patsy Cline – winter 2022
      • A sing-along screening of the movie version of The Sound of Music in spring 2022
    • SecondStage will return with a fall show and a spring show.
    • The 50th Anniversary will also be celebrated with a one-night-only black-tie gala fundraiser intended to help the Looney Legacy Endowment reach its initial $1M goal.

Turley said, “We can scale these plans up or down in response to the inevitable changes coming our way while providing the safest possible environment for our staff, volunteers, performers, and audience members.  We’ll continue to pursue our mission in a strategic and flexible way that delivers entertainment, education, and joy to our community.”

Updates will continue to be posted at www.theatretusc.com and on the theatre’s social media accounts.  More information is also available at 205.391.2277.

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Theatre Tuscaloosa is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit community theatre located on the Martin Campus of Shelton State Community College.  Theatre Tuscaloosa has been enriching the greater Tuscaloosa community since 1971 through quality theatrical productions and educational outreach.

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