PCPA will suspend the opening of its 57th theater season until next summer due to county Public Health restrictions that limit public gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plans to resume live performances in Santa Maria and the Solvang Festival Theater are projected for a June 2021 comeback.
Artistic Director Mark Booher explained that despite the theater's plans for a 2020-21 season, the potential for PCPA staff, students and patrons to be exposed to COVID-19, as well as the impact on the theater's production and instruction time, ultimately guided the decision.
"We are planning to shift our focus and conserve our resources to try to have ourselves in the strongest position possible for production in summer ‘21," Booher said.
The postponement will also affect spring 2021 performances usually held in Santa Maria’s Marian and Severson theaters, and sets off a yearlong suspension of PCPA training programs for acting and technical theater until August 2021.
"Our plan will be to produce four summer shows, primarily performing in Solvang,” Booher said.
In the meantime, PCPA plans to pivot for the upcoming fall and spring seasons, providing the community with virtual arts enrichment and educational experiences led by the company of artists via Zoom.
Fall offerings will include the PCPA’s play reading series, InterPlay, planned for September and October.
Still, Booher maintains that the theater's aim is to return to the PCPA's beloved stages and studios.
"We are using this time to improve our internal working practices and culture, so that as we continue the rich legacy of artistry and excellence for which PCPA is known, we will be a healthier, more equitable, creatively robust contributor to community life and the future of the American theater,” he said.
For more information, PCPA updates and virtual programming, visit www.PCPA.org.
“I did (photography) work with many community groups, Dignity Health, the PCPA, the Hancock College dance program, for years,” said Escobar. “All that’s on hold.”
Lisa André covers local news and lifestyles for Santa Ynez Valley News.
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