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South Bend Civic Theatre Suspends Remainder Of In-person Scheduled Season

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South Bend Civic Theatre Suspends Remainder Of In-person Scheduled Season

The South Bend Civic Theatre will be suspending all scheduled in-person performances through the end of the year due to the re-escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive Director Aaron Nichols said the decision was not taken lightly, but it was the right and responsible one.

"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," Nichols said.

Since the CIVIC resumed rehearsals earlier this summer as Indiana moved toward re-opening, the theatre created and enforced a comprehensive safety protocol for our cast and production teams. Everyone wore masks or face shields, distanced as possible, and had their temperatures taken before entering CIVIC rehearsal spaces.

As teams were hard at work preparing their productions, CIVIC staff 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. The CIVIC 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.

As of July 18, St. Joseph County's pandemic number was 17.2 cases per 100,000 residents -- far above that defined 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," Nicholds said. "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, the CIVIC plans 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 the CIVIC will not be continuing its regularly scheduled season does not mean the theatre won't be enriching and creating community over the coming months -- it will just be in new and creative ways.

In the meantime, here are a few virtual options that the CIVIC will still be offering in the next three weeks:

LIGHTS UP! A virtual celebration of the arts. Tune in on Facebook or at sbct.org for an evening of cabaret showcasing some of the incredible talent that has been born from South Bend or will soon come to the CIVIC's stage. Performances will include a set from world-renowned operatic baritone Nathan Gunn, accompanied by his wife Julie, as well as previews of shows including Xanadu, Matilda, and West Side Story.

Emma On Demand. For a limited time, a live recording of Emma from Friday's opening night performance will be available to watch for $25. Tickets can be purchased at sbct.org/emma. The recording will be available beginning July 21.

Shelter in Place: A Living Room Vaudeville. This original production is presented by Nathan and Julie Gunn. Nathan, a world-renowned operatic baritone, and Julie, a gifted pianist and musical director, will bring their original cabaret performance to the South Bend Civic Theatre stage. Shelter in Place is a little bit of vaudeville, a little bit of improv, and exactly the kind of entertainment we all need right now. The stream can be purchased at sbct.org/vaudeville


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