Early summer is usually the prime time for local arts organizations to announce their upcoming seasons. But for most, during a global health crisis what those schedules will look like are in flux.
At the St. Joseph Performing Arts Association, which books touring acts for venues like the Missouri Theater, executive director Beth Sharp had the brochure for its upcoming 2020-21 season ready to be printed.
“We just had to hold the horses because everything just changed,” she said.
The organization had its plan with acts ranging from magic shows to tribute concerts to its popular “Church Basement Ladies” performances. Now, Sharp said, it’s all been pushed back to 2021.
The problem, just as other arts organizations are facing, is the spacing factor. With current city guidelines, the distancing guidelines would cut deep into the number of seats available at spaces like the Missouri Theater.
“Once we received the the distancing restrictions, we started looking at our theater and how we could present (a show) and right now, it just didn’t make sense to move forward,” she said.
Here’s where other organizations stand with events going into the fall:
Allied Arts Council
A union of 15 local arts groups, the Allied Arts Council has been trying to come up with solutions for its own events, like the Sculpture Walk and Mayor’s Awards for the Arts, while helping out others.
“We’ve been busy,” Teresa Fankhauser, executive director for the Allied Arts Council said.
While summer events in Downtown St. Joseph have largely been postponed or canceled, Fankhauser said something like its Sculpture Walk, which can take place following all city guidelines, is especially needed.
“We’re working hard to make sure that Sculpture Walk still taking place. It’s one of the things that we thought we can offer because you can do it with masks on outdoors,” she said.
While the date for the Sculpture Walk opening is tentative, Fankhauser said the organization is still eyeing Friday, June 12, its original opening date.
“The goal is to open it, have everything installed and the brochures ready to go June 12. Now I say that it’s scheduled, I will readily confess that it’s been more difficult to get things scheduled and outlined. All processes take longer these days,” she said.
The Mayor’s Awards for the Arts, which honors distinguished people in the local arts community, as well as serves as Allied Arts Council’s annual meeting, will continue in a virtual space, with a tentative date of Thursday, July 16.
Robidoux Resident Theatre
Plans are still full steam ahead for RRT’s 2020-21 season, dubbed a “Season of Wonder,” which includes musicals and plays like “School of Rock,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Clue.”
“We just kind of wanted to remind everyone that there’s the positive aspect of wonder. It’s the amazing, beautiful, child-like wonder, being swept away into another world for for a few hours. Normally, that’s what the theater is all about. We kind of wanted to bring that in during this time,” Sandy Burg, RRT executive director, said in a previous interview.
Saint Joseph Symphony
For its 2020-21 season, the Saint Joseph Symphony has been exploring its options.
It wasn’t able to complete its 2019-20 season, which was supposed to be the final one for its long-time director, Rico McNeela. Plans moving forward, including making up past concerts, as well as future performances, are still being discussed.
“The wheels of progress grind slowly. We are still trying to come up with a strategy to approach the coming season, not least of which is what date we want the season to begin,” Lori McAlister, managing director for the symphony, said.
A scheduled Zoom meeting for the symphony’s board on Friday, June 5, will have members weighing in on two different scenarios for the season, she said.