June 25, 2020
You may have already seen this morning’s announcement from Overture Center for the Arts that they will be keeping their doors closed until December 2020. We want you to know that we have been working closely with Overture and our fellow resident companies during this time, and based on current guidelines for rehearsal spaces and performance venues, we agree that this is the best course of action to maintain the highest levels of health and safety, both for our artists and our audiences.
What does this mean for Forward Theater?
For starters, we pivot. We adapt. We embrace the opportunity to bring you our work in the best way we can, when we can.
We’ve created a plan to work around the temporary closing of Overture and still bring you all the productions scheduled for our 2020-21 season. First and foremost, we remain committed to paying full artist contracts for each production, despite the changes you’ll see below. If you are one of our more than 2,300 subscribers, you are the reason we can do this. Thank you for your confidence and support.
- Our first production of the season, The Lifespan of a Fact, will be rehearsed remotely, performed and recorded on Zoom (or a similar platform), then shared with ticketholders online in September during its originally-scheduled timeframe. Overture’s closing wasn’t the only factor in this choice. Actor’s Equity Association (AEA), the national union of professional actors and stage managers, is not currently allowing any of their members to rehearse shows in person. Experts throughout our field are working out protocols to keep theater artists safe in a rehearsal room and onstage, but we do not yet know how long that process will take. We share AEA’s commitment to safety, so are glad we have the option to present this particular play remotely. With a stellar three-person cast, a brilliant director at the helm, and our full design team working their magic, we have every confidence that The Lifespan of a Fact will remain a robust and entertaining experience for you. And fear not – we’ll be offering lots of live online talkbacks so you won’t miss out on that essential part of your Forward experience!
- Our second production of the season, 45 Plays for America’s First Ladies, will be rescheduled from its November 2020 timeslot to May 2021. We are really grateful that we were able to reserve an additional spring slot in the Playhouse to give us that option! Unlike Lifespan, this particular play relies so much on a live, interactive experience that we felt it best to postpone it until we can truly celebrate it with you, in person. (All our subscribers will still have the option to choose to watch a filmed version from home, as will be the case for the whole season.) And who knows – since this is a world-premiere script, maybe by the time we present it there’ll be a 46th play!
- With 45 Plays moved to May 2021, we will postpone the Within These Walls Monologue Festival to June 2021.
- The gap between September and January is just too long to wait for us to offer something to our audiences! So we’re already planning to present virtual play readings with Forward Theater artists in October-December. We’re excited to feature some of our favorite contemporary plays, which for one reason or another didn't make it into our seasons. This series will be offered free to subscribers, with gratitude for your flexibility as we adapt to changing circumstances.
What does this mean for you?
We recognize that this scenario is not what we promised when we announced our 2020-21 season on March 10th. How the world has changed since then! For those subscribers that have already committed to us for the coming year, we hope that this plan meets your expectations and still offers the best Forward Theater experience we can provide.
Wondering what the new dates are for your postponed 45 Plays… tickets? Click here to see what “First Saturdays” and “Third Wednesdays” now means! For those subscribers who have already ordered Monologue Festival tickets as an add-on, we will contact you personally to change your dates.
If you cannot attend a postponed production, or do not wish to try viewing a production online, we are happy to offer refunds for individual shows throughout the season. Simply reach out to Audience & Donor Relations Manager Samara Safarik at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time during the season ahead and she will assist you.
Because our 2020 productions (Lifespan and 45 Plays) are either online or postponed, you will not receive printed tickets in August, as originally planned. Instead, we plan to send out tickets for the 2021 productions later this year. And in August we will send all ticketholders details on how to watch The Lifespan of a Fact online.
Certainty in uncertain times
There’s so much right now that we cannot assume about the future. But I do know this – all of us at Forward are profoundly grateful to each and every one of you for your ongoing support and care, and for your belief in the value of local, professional theater.
Please stay safe, and do not hesitate to reach out to us with questions.
Jen Uphoff Gray