WILMINGTON — The longtime, southwest Ohio summer tradition of Wilmington College-Community Summer Theatre is going on hiatus for 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis and difficulties associated with staging live indoor events with large crowds.
Wynn Alexander, artistic director, announced the “difficult decision” of suspending this year’s performance of summer theatre.
“While it’s a perplexing reality to accept, our current global crisis dictates that we consider the safety and health of our performers and staff, and, of course, our audience,” he said. “This decision was made to protect everyone involved.”
Alexander and his staff contemplated how rehearsals could be accomplished while instituting physical distancing, as well as the feasibility of a mandatory reduction of the size of the audience allowed in the theatre. They concluded it would not have been possible to provide the “high quality” summer theatre experience to which its “faithful patrons” are accustomed.
“We all eagerly await the lights to go down, the overture to begin to play, the curtain to rise and for the actors to burst onto stage,” he added, noting that, for 46 years, College-Community Summer Theatre has been committed to “entertaining and inspiring” the local community in ways only the performing arts can do. “The excitement of theatre transports actors and audiences to times and places of which we can only dream.”
Alexander assured all involved that, in time, the show will go on. He also noted that a “silver lining” can be found in the disappointment of no production taking the stage of Hugh G. Heiland Theatre this summer.
Alexander is hoping to use the time available this summer to accomplish some much-needed repairs and improvements that will make the summer theatre experience even more enjoyable for all involved in the future. The Galvin Foundation has offered a challenge gift of $20,000 if the Wilmington College-Community Summer Theatre is able to match that amount through fundraising.
“While this summer will see an empty stage, we still humbly ask for your support,” he said, adding that the potential of receiving $40,000 would allow for improvements to stage lighting, updates to audio and video systems, electrical upgrades and renovated storage options. “These will improve the theatre experience for both patrons and performers.”
Alexander added that the community’s “generous support” of the 46-year tradition of summer theatre has been the reason “the show has always gone on — and will into the future. We’ll be back. The curtain will rise again.”
For those wishing to support the program, checks should be made payable to Wilmington College with Wilmington College-Community Summer Theater (WCCST) in the memo line and mailed to Wilmington College, Pyle Box 1206, Wilmington, OH 45177.