Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre Chairman's Update – October 2020
For all at the Athenaeum, 2020 has been a year like no other. Covid-19 has brought life to a standstill particularly here in Victoria, and the ramifications for live theatre have been devastating. I think it fair to say no one wants to sit in a confined space indoors. First and foremost, the safety and wellbeing of our audiences, actors, volunteers and all personnel involved with staging a production is and always will be our first priority. We won’t be putting anyone at unnecessary risk. So it’s quite possible that it’s going to be quite some time before we’re able to predict what seating within the theatre is going to look like in 2021.
The Board, in anticipation, is preparing a Covid safe plan for the theatre and this could involve “socially distanced seating” which means audiences per performance of as little as 70 and plays involving small casts and minimal crew. Over the coming months we will continue to monitor official advice regarding regulations and requirements.
Normally around this time we would be preparing for the launch of our 2021 season and sending out information to subscribers and the general public. This will not be happening just yet given the current uncertainty. Once we’re confident that we know what 2021 might look like, we’ll get it out – but that might not be until later in the year – or even early next year.
Moving to 2021 the Board had already resolved to produce five productions next year instead of the current four as a means to making up the financial shortfall incurred in 2020 and to secure the financial future of the theatre.
Whilst the new dates are locked in we have, due to current circumstances, decided not to produce season one of the five. Therefore the first production for 2021 is at this stage scheduled for April 2021, with subsequent productions hopefully to follow in June, September and November.
We greatly appreciate the support we have received for our many subscribers and supporters, and carry forward credits will be applied to the currently scheduled 4 shows and should we have to abide by reduced seating those credited subscribers will have priority.
We thank you all for your continued support of the company and assure you of our commitment to providing entertaining theatre in a safe environment.
Alan Burrows Chair
Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre