COVID Impacts to Performance Dates

Our lit but empty stage

Are you potentially interested in directing a show with us but are unsure about how COVID may affect the season and proposal? In this post, I’m going to aim to clarify how the board is currently making decisions so that you can understand how you may be impacted as a director.

As always, we have the dates for our productions chosen far in advance. Even in the uncertain world of COVID, we need to do this so that we can manage our rental calendar, which can be busy even in COVID-times. Our shows require about a month total (plus or minus a week) in the space: 1-2 weeks for build and tech, then 3 weeks of performances, followed by a day for strike. If we do not book the dates in advance, rentals can whittle away at the available time even a year in advance. 

Currently, our production dates for the 2022-2023 season are:

ShowAudition DatesPerformance Dates
Always Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Season OpenerSeptember 6 – 8, 2022November 10 – 26, 2022
Winter ShowNovember 7 – 9, 2022January 26 – February 11, 2023
Spring ShowFebruary 6 – 8, 2023April 27 – May 13, 2023
Summer ShowMarch 27 – 29, 2023June 8 – 24, 2023

We do recognize, though, that timelines often shift these days due to provincial regulations and COVID waves. We’re not going to pretend like this isn’t a possibility – we have already moved our dates for Ali & Ali twice. We’re also not going to pretend that we can be certain that COVID is “almost over” and that our next season will be totally normal (though, obviously we are hopeful that this will be the case).

The decision to change dates has been prompted by either provincial regulations preventing in-person auditions, or uncertainty about comfort levels with regard to gathering for auditions or rehearsals. We have relied very heavily on the production team to communicate their comfort levels and needs to us, via our Artistic Director and/or Executive Producer. Different shows require different levels of physicality and interaction; the Ali & Ali team, for example, are planning a very physical show and online video conference rehearsals are not a possibility. If they could have rehearsed remotely, we may have made a different decision about deferring dates. These decisions, so far, have been fairly last-minute (2ish weeks before auditions) because things tend to change so quickly with COVID.

When it becomes clear that we need to change the dates, we start by announcing publicly that the dates are changing before picking new dates. Picking new dates can take some time, and it’s important to communicate ASAP to people wanting to audition that the plan is changing. Then, we take a look at what’s possible in our calendar and what’s possible with the production team’s schedules. Our Artistic Director or Executive Producer works with the production team to come up with potential new dates, which are then brought to the Board for approval. Once the new dates are selected, confirmed by the Board, and our rights updated, we can publicize the new dates.

We are continuing to iterate on this process. Like other theatre companies, we are trying to balance needing to be nimble in responding to COVID with needing lead time to plan and schedule our productions. There is a lot of room for improvement in how we’re handling these situations now. Here is what you should consider if you are thinking about submitting an application:

  1. If we have to shut down in the middle of your rehearsal cycle, would Zoom rehearsals be adequate, or would we need to consider changing your performance dates?
  2. How flexible can you & your team be with changing dates?
  3. Would you be able to do your production entirely remotely or via livestream? (This may also be impacted by limitations in rights agreements, which wouldn’t be obvious until we apply for the rights.)

Hopefully, none of this will be relevant and we won’t have to change dates for productions going forward, but I wanted to provide this glimpse into our process in case people were wondering.

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