Today Charleston Stage announced that it will delay the opening of its 43rd season, originally slated to kick off on Aug. 26, until January 21 due to the uncertainty of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
This March, Charleston Stage suspended their current season, but said it planned on moving forward with its 43rd season as is. Now, though Charleston Stage founder and artistic director Julian Wiles does not think that gathering in August is a safe bet.
In a statement, Wiles said: "The magic of live theatre is about a gathering of live audiences and live performers together celebrating, interacting, and enjoying the play or musical at hand. At present we could not see a way to gather together while still ensuring the safety of our audiences and our performers. These are difficult, but necessary decisions."
Because of this change the theater company has reduced their operating budget over the next nine months by 60 percent, and furloughed 19 of 29 staff members. Charleston Stage is asking for help from the community to raise $200,000 to continue their scaled down operations.
The 43rd season will now open with a family series production of E.B.White's Charlotte's Web
in January, followed by the musical A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline
in February. The rest of the season will still feature Murder on the Orient Express
, Kinky Boots
, and Bright Star
Charleston Stage's theater school classes and SummerStage Musical Theatre Camp have been canceled, and the company's associate artistic director, Marybeth Clark, hopes that classes may be able to return in the fall.
Adjusted season ticket packages will go on sale on June 15. Charleston Stage offices will be closed May 15-25 to allow staff to "regroup" during these changes. When offices reopen on Tuesday, May 26 you can call (843) 577-7183 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.