New Bern, NC – The historic Athens Theater, lit only by a single ghost light, lays quiet and motionless during the shelter in place order which has now been extended to May 8th. All shows and rehearsals have been suspended until further notice but that does not mean work has stopped. NBCT Board of Directors and staff have been keeping busy taking this time to work on strategic planning, updating policies and procedures, and streamlining internal operations through conference calls, emails, and zoom meetings.
“There are so many projects that we would like to get done, (cleaning out costumes, props, warehouse, repairs, etc.) but the safety of our community and volunteers is our first priority. We made the decision to focus on internal operations since it would not require coming in contact with others.” Angelina Doyle, Executive Director. The Board of Directors have been busy with long term strategic planning and creating new procedures to be more efficient in serving the community. Part of the new structure includes a formal annual report of the 2019 season to give our community an overview of the financial and operational health of NBCT. The report is an overview of what the theater was able to accomplish in 2019 with productions, special events, and educational programs. It includes finances, awards, donors, and both short- and long-term repairs. For the full report click here.
NBCT is working on how to approach the current season and will more than likely have to cancel at least one show. Last month, the children’s production of Willy Wonka, Jr. was officially postponed a day before school performances were set to start. School performances alone have an estimated attendance of 3,000 students who travel from several counties to see a live performance in a historic theater. Matilda, which was originally due to open, Friday, May 1st has also been postponed until further notice. The rest of the season is still in limbo until more information is available for openings and the number of people allowed in gatherings. “The difficulty is not knowing what we will be dealing with once the ban is lifted. It’s like trying to navigate through a blizzard and you can’t see the road,” said Angelina. “We know that there will be a lot of adjustments we will have to make, not only in how we approach restarting our performances, but in how we keep everyone safe as well.”
NBCT has installed several permanent hand sanitizer stations in the theater as well as the café and will have cleaning wipes available for our patrons to use on seats and other surfaces. Productions will be limited seating initially until the CDC and Government Officials relax restrictions.
For more detailed information on the 2019 Annual Report and information regarding cancellations/postponements please click here.
Submitted by: Angelina Doyle, Executive Director, New Bern Civic Theatre