Whidbey Playhouse board looks toward 2021

— Created May 27, 2020 by Kathy Reed

The performing arts community on Whidbey Island has been hit hard by COVID-19. The board of directors for Whidbey Playhouse in Oak Harbor was forced to cancel the rest of its 2019-2020 season due to the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

In a statement released Tuesday by the Playhouse board, members said they have been hard at work planning for the 2020-2021 season, which includes virtual educational opportunities and addressing financial challenges from the cancellation of the remaining current season.

The announcement that Island County has moved to Phase II of the Safe Start reopening plan was bittersweet for Playhouse board, which has pushed the new season back to January.

“The Playhouse will remain closed to the public,” read the board’s announcement. “When the board of directors, committee chairs and staff believe it is safe to open and we can follow all sanitization and social distancing guidelines, we will do so.

According to the announcement, the next season will start in January, 2021, due to uncertainty over when the Playhouse can fully open; the negative impact on revenue because of limited capacity under social distancing guidelines; and uncertainty over the public’s perception of safety in attending a production even with sanitization and social distancing measures.

“Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball and while we can hope that everyone would support the Playhouse and attend all of the shows, the reality is we just don’t know, especially as we hear about other events in Western Washington being cancelled that were due to be held in September and October,” the announcement said.

The board is currently looking at a three-show season and will announce the shows upon the approval of royalty rights. Season ticket sales will be opened once the shows are approved. The price of a season ticket package will be reduced and 2019-2020 season ticket holders will receive an updated discount code due to the cancellation of the last two shows of the season.

“Again, we thank you for your continued support and know that we miss seeing you all at the Playhouse,” the statement said. “We will get through this together and we look forward to seeing you when it is safe to gather.”

Contact the Whidbey Playhouse at 360-679-2237 or email the office at office@whidbeyplayhouse.com.