Kitchen Theatre Cancels Production And Events; Creates New Inventive Ways to Keep Theatre Alive
In light of its recently cancelled run of Catch As Catch Can, along with the annual Lip Sink Fundraiser and of the growing threat the novel coronavirus poses to public health and safety, Kitchen Theatre Company (KTC) is putting plans in place to ensure the future stability of the theatre while continuing its engagement with the Ithaca community. As part of this effort, KTC has begun making difficult choices to mitigate financial losses.
On Friday, March 20th, the Kitchen Theatre, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, furloughed much of its workforce in response to the immediate and sudden loss of revenue resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. The decision was very difficult, made harder by there being no foreseeable end date in sight. A small core of staff remains to continue to provide customer service to our patrons, to keep planning for next season moving ahead and to find innovative ways to keep our mission alive virtually.
Managing Director Stephen Nunley says, "All of us here at the KTC acknowledge that these are dire times. It is devastating to furlough so many members of our talented staff who work so hard, and to cancel or postpone the great work we were preparing to share with Central New York. We are committed to researching and pursuing additional funding from a variety of sources in hopes that the theatre can rebound after this crisis. We are looking forward to the day when we welcome back our dedicated production staff and many supportive patrons."
While for the moment plans for the remaining 2019-20 Kitchen Theatre season productions are in flux, the remaining staff is reaching out to unions, artists, and publishers to explore what sort of creative solutions are possible in the new normal of distancing socially.
O'Gara says, "It is the job of artists to find hope. As theatre people we feel we are as well equipped as anyone to handle these situations. We've been in crisis before, we know how to think creatively, and we have learned to be flexible. We will be able to find new ways of keeping our mission alive. Theatre is an ancient rite that has survived because of how powerfully it connects us as humans. After the dust settles, we will be needed more than ever. We appreciate those who have supported us by donating their tickets and sending in additional support. They are helping to ensure our future and the future of live theatre in Ithaca. And while there are still few answers, we appreciate everyone's patience as we explore all our options and make plans for keeping important conversations alive."
One of those plans is the implementation of a remote script reading club that will kick-off on Thursday, April 9th at 7PM with a discussion of the play currently scheduled next in the 2019-2020 season, Daniel Beaty's Mr. Joy. Additional dates are scheduled for Thursday, April 23rd at 7PM and Thursday, May 7th at 7PM, with play titles still to be announced. In addition, KTC will be launching a social media campaign titled #MYKITCHENTHEATRE, in which artists and community members far and wide will upload a 20 second video performance from their own kitchen and then proceed to challenge five others to do the same. The initiative is intended to promote arts awareness, togetherness and hope during the current health crisis.
The mission of Kitchen Theatre Company is "to create bold theatre within our intimate space that engages community and sparks important conversation." Although circumstances have changed drastically over the past few weeks, by increasing communication with our patrons and by coming up with outside-the-box ideas to stimulate creativity from remote locations, the theatre is adapting to deliver on its mission, albeit with a bare bones staff.
For more updates and information on Kitchen Theatre Company during the COVID-19 crisis, please visit www.kitchentheatre.org and follow the theatre on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.