Dorset Theatre Festival Suspends 2020 Season

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Dorset Theatre Festival Suspends 2020 Season

Dorset Theatre Festival will suspend their previously announced 43rd Season, which was scheduled to begin June 25, 2020, at the Dorset Playhouse (104 Cheney Road, Dorset, VT 02521).

"We believe a theater should be like the kitchen table of the community - a place where people come to laugh together, celebrate together, and learn together," said Artistic Director Dina Janis. "These challenging times call for tough choices, and although the decision not to proceed with the 2020 season is a tough choice, we are focusing on re-inventing our annual celebration of great plays for these extraordinary times."

"We are working on creating digital programming which will begin rolling out this spring," said Janis. "We are so fortunate that our new play development programs have become such a haven for content creation, and the writers and artists who are part of these initiatives are excited to share work in this new online format."

The Festival plans to return as soon as possible, Janis added. "We will do something in-person as soon as we are able. We are thinking of these beautiful plays we had scheduled as 'on hold for now' so we can make a really exciting plan for what might be possible when people are allowed to gather again."

Dorset, like many arts organizations and artists, is developing new ways of connecting in the world of social distancing. The Dorset Theatre Festival Women Artists Writing Group, which typically meets twice each month in New York City, has moved their meetings to an online platform. The Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights Program is being offered online for the first time ever in its eight-year history, still at no charge to the local schools who participate. Artist development programs, including the Festival's new Commissioning and Fellowship program, will also forge ahead.

Increasingly known for bringing cutting-edge theatre to rural Southern Vermont, Dorset Theatre Festival's mission is to "create bold, innovative, and authentic theatre: enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring our audience through the celebration of great plays." The Festival's staff hopes the suspension of the summer season will keep the organization alive and well in what are dark times for live arts around the world.

In reaching the decision not to move forward with the 2020 season, Dorset Theatre Festival coordinated with Weston Playhouse Theatre Company and other arts organizations in the region. "This is a tough message to deliver," said Janis. "Susanna Gellert at Weston and I felt it was important to get through this situation together, in a way that the arts region we've been working so hard to build here in Southern Vermont will survive."

As Dorset maintains its year-round new play development programs, and works toward finding new ways for patrons to experience live theatre from their homes, the Festival hopes its community and supporters will join them to safeguard the organization's 43-year history for many more years to come.

"These are uncertain times for all of us," said Janis. "At Dorset, we are committed not only to continuing to support our ongoing year-round programs, but also our people on staff who make it possible. Every summer we do our best to bring world-class theatre and artists to Southern Vermont, so every step we take right now is to make sure we can come back from this."

Patrons who have already purchased subscriptions to the 2020 season will be contacted by the box office. The Festival hopes as many people who can will consider converting their purchase to a tax-deductible donation for the non-profit organization. "Our deepest hope would be for patrons and supporters to make a donation in lieu of tickets you may have purchased during the 2020 Season. By donating now, you join our staff and board in pressing forward to make sure our professional summer season continues to thrive in the 'brave little state,'" said Janis .

Dorset Theatre Festival's box office is available by phone Tuesday - Friday from 12 - 4 PM at (802) 867-2223 ext. 101, and by email at


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