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Ohio Performances Venues Struggle to Reopen With Current Social Distancing Guidelines

Hear from The Kent Stage, Twinsburg Community Theatre, and more.

Ohio Performances Venues Struggle to Reopen With Current Social Distancing Guidelines

Performance venues across Ohio are struggling with reopening amidst the current social distancing guidelines, Record-Courier reports.

Governor Mike DeWine recently released guidelines on how to safely open live venues. Audiences must be capped at 300 people, or 15% of the normal capacity.

Tom Simpson, owner of The Kent Stage, said this isn't financially possible for his venue.

"The guidelines, as far as what you need to do, are not that different from what we had always planned on doing," he said. "It's hard to put a number on it, but 15% won't cut it. It would have to be at least 50 percent. In an ideal world, it would be 100% with proper precautions."

Shonna Kitzel, artistic director for Twinsburg Community Theatre, shares the sentiment, saying socially-distanced theatre just doesn't make sense.

"My biggest concern is always the safety of the performers," she said. " "You can imagine a scene with someone saying, 'Oh darling, I love you so much, Let me blow you a kiss from 6 feet away.' It's a contact sport. People inadvertently sweat on one another. There is saliva flying through the air when you are singing and dancing and spinning in circles."

Eric van Baars, director of the School of Theater and Dance at Kent State University, said many of their activities are online.

"For us, it's an opportunity for our students to explore new modalities of how the industry is changing because of this," he said. "We would be remiss to go back to previous technology or measures because honestly we don't know how long this will go on."

Read more on Record-Courier.

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