August 11, 2020
From the desk of John J. Stephens, Executive Producer:
This has been the longest Intermission that we have ever been through, but we know the Second Act will be well worth the wait!
It is with a very heavy heart that I write today to extend our current shutdown here at The Little Theatre On The Square. Covid-19 has taken a heavy toll on the entertainment industry, especially on Live Professional Theatre. We have been shut down since March 16, 2020 and will extend this shutdown until at least January 3, 2021 at this point. This means we will be postponing our scheduled October show of The King and Marilyn and cancelling our annual Christmas show, as well as classes for our Future Stars Education Program and our annual fall student production. We will take a second look at the situation as we draw closer to January to make decisions on our Spring programming.
We have seen such amazing support from our patrons and our donors through this entire pandemic. Cancelling our 2020 Summer Season was one of the hardest decisions that our organization has ever made, but hearing from our patrons made it so much better, knowing that they would still be there to support us when we open again in 2021.
Just to put the numbers out there, we lost over 100 jobs here in Sullivan due to the Corona Virus impact this summer alone. We cancelled 148 performances through the end of this year. We lost out on over 40,000 people coming to Sullivan this year. That not only hurts us, but the surrounding businesses in our area who rely on visitors coming from out of town to see a show at The Little Theatre. Your financial support is needed now more than ever.
We have spent the “time off” remodeling our housing for actors and technicians visiting for work here at The Little Theatre and just deep cleaning our entire space. We will be ready for you when the time comes. If you haven’t seen our videos on Facebook and Instagram, check us out. Our actors have been donating their time to keep the spirit of The Little Theatre alive. We have some big things planned for this fall that will come alive online. Make sure you are visiting our Facebook and Instagram pages for information on those programs.
As for our Education Program, we rely on ticket sales from our Fall and Spring shows to offset funding for our educational programming. Without those this year, we have no other option but to cancel classes for now and bring them back when they are financially viable. This is the hardest hit for me personally. As a former educator and kid actor, I know that the theatre was always my safe space to be me and to be the person I wanted to be and feel supported. We will be finding ways to make sure those kids still feel the support and love from our programs while we take a break from actual classes.
Why can’t we re-open like other businesses have? Currently, there is a limit of no more than 50 people gathering in a space in Illinois. We have no control over this and it is not financially viable for us to build a show to run with only 50 audience members each performance. We are also limited by our Union, Actors’ Equity Association. They are working hard to keep actors and stage managers safe during this time. When we get the all clear, we will be ready to bring you entertainment again here at The Little Theatre On The Square.
We will be reaching out to those who donated their tickets for the 2020 summer season and received a free ticket to The King and Marilyn. We will honor that in the future and make sure your gift ticket is still received.
John J. Stephens