The show must go on for the Louisville arts despite a pandemic

By DAVID MATTINGLY | WAVE 3 News

Actors Theatre is pumping new life into the adage “The show must go on.”

Because of restrictions due to COVID-19, Actors Theatre is launching a list of 25 projects that will be all virtual performances.

Customers will not be given a seat in a theater, but instead given access to digital productions for viewing on personal devices.

“This pandemic has accelerated certain changes that were already in process,” Actors Theatre artistic director Robert Barry Fleming said. “I think some of that is going to continue to be a conversation in the future, even as a vaccine or treatment or herd immunity or however this resolves itself.”

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Because of restrictions due to COVID-19, Actors Theatre is launching a list of 25 projects that will be all virtual performances.

The new season will be a continuation of the virtual productions the theater pivoted to when COVID-19 interrupted the Humana Festival.

The challenge is now even greater as Actors Theatre intercepts its new season with half the operating budget of the previous year.

“It’s very different from live performance, where you actually have kind of a physical exchange of energy and response,” Fleming said. “And we are eager to continue to explore how these technologies may help facilitate connections and even amplify that.”

The entire arts community is facing the same need for reinvention. Fund For The Arts estimated the flood of COVID-19-related cancellations resulted in a $10 million loss to the arts economy, which represents 17,000 jobs.

“No matter what the new normal is, we know that coming out of COVID, our communities, our neighborhoods, especially our more vulnerable populations, are going to need the good work of our creative sector, arguably more than ever before,” said J.P. Davis, Fund For The Arts senior vice president.

The generosity of donors could be key to keeping the arts thriving after the virus has passed.

The Louisville Orchestra canceled 19 concerts after the virus hit in the spring. Orchestra Director of Marketing Michelle Winters said 60 percent of ticket holders donated the cost of the tickets.

The orchestra is now planning a mix of outdoor concerts and indoor performances with seating adjusted for social distancing.

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