Although we will never close the curtain on our mission to enrich and create community — that work is more important now than ever before — the South Bend Civic Theatre cannot in good faith continue with live theatre productions.
Due to the re-escalating COVID-19 pandemic, we will be suspending all scheduled in-person performances through the end of the year. It is not a decision we took lightly — or one we wanted to make — but it’s the right and responsible one.
Since we resumed rehearsals earlier this summer as Indiana moved toward re-opening, we created and enforced a comprehensive safety protocol for our cast and production teams. Everyone wore masks or face shields (even when rehearsing outdoors in the heat, so hats-off to our dedicated artists and volunteers), distanced as possible, and had their temperatures taken before entering CIVIC rehearsal spaces.
As our teams were hard at work preparing their productions, we continued to monitor data put out by the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI), which provides a daily county-specific number of new positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 residents. We announced internally that if that seven-day rolling average passed 10 (the threshold for “Accelerated Spread”), we would move to online rehearsals for a week. If that number remained over 10 the following week, the production would be canceled.
So, here we are. As of July 18, St. Joseph County’s pandemic number was 17.2 cases per 100,000 residents — far above our safety threshold.
Although we still feel confident that our rehearsals, camps, and productions were conducted in a way that kept our volunteers and patrons safe, we also must consider the health of the greater community. We believe that the rapidly-rising infection levels make it dangerous to bring together large gatherings of people, even if the best attempts are made at sanitization, masking, and social distancing.
Tickets already reserved for the remainder of the 2020 season will be honored next year. Remaining 2020 FLEXPASS credits will also rollover to the end of 2021. In addition to a few new surprises, we plan to produce nearly all of the shows that didn’t make it to stage this year (including West Side Story with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra).
Just because we will not be continuing our regularly scheduled season does not mean the South Bend Civic Theatre won’t be enriching and creating community over the coming months — we’ll just be finding new and creative ways to do it.