September 17, 2020
More than six months after the pandemic first forced the closure of theaters around the country, we have made the difficult decision not to produce in-person, indoor performances at Trinity Rep until fall 2021. During this pause in production, we are committing to equity, diversity, and inclusion work; education initiatives; and digital content production.
We first announced Trinity Rep’s 2020-21 Season in April, a 6-show subscription lineup that included Sweat and Sweeney Todd, which had been cancelled in the spring, as well as productions of A Christmas Carol and a revival of the 2019 sold-out hit The Prince of Providence. The subscription season also included Tiny Beautiful Things, The Diary of Anne Frank, Fairview, and Anna K. In June, it became clear that the intended August start date for the season wouldn’t be possible, and we shifted to a winter 2020 through fall 2021 timeline.
Ticket holders for these productions, including subscribers, do not need to do anything. Their tickets will be automatically rolled over into corresponding shows once productions resume. Due to the length of time that will have elapsed, when a new performance schedule is announced, some titles may change due to availability, the needs of the community, and relevance to current events. The box office will contact ticket buyers at that time to confirm dates. In the meantime, any ticket holder with questions can contact the box office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (401) 351-4242.
The free, online production of A Christmas Carol announced in August will continue. The on-demand, streaming show will be available in late November and feature Joe Wilson, Jr. as Ebenezer Scrooge, directed by Curt Columbus.
Donations and sponsorships are needed to underwrite the costs associated with this production, and to support the theater’s work during this period. Please consider supporting us at www.trinityrep.com/give. By postponing in-person productions, the organization’s budget is reduced by approximately 50%, resulting in a significant workforce reduction.
“While we are eager to get back onstage in front of our beloved audience, it is becoming increasingly clear that we won’t be able to do so in a safe or practical fashion this winter and spring,” says Curt Columbus, The Arthur P. Solomon and Sally E. Lapides Artistic Director. “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our audience and artists, so we are prioritizing that above all things. In the meantime, we have critically important work to do. Our labor in becoming a truly anti-racist theater will take centerstage in the coming months, and our online programming will be even more robust as well. I am excited about all of these initiatives and the future of Trinity Rep.”
“With optimism and drive similar to what Trinity Rep’s founders must have experienced 56 years ago, we embrace the opportunities presented by this rare pause of in-person performances to develop, implement, and re-forge a bold new vision for theater-making, education, and community engagement in Rhode Island,” says Executive Director Tom Parrish. “The organizational planning work ahead, which also includes facility and strategic planning, will ensure that when we reach the other side of the pandemic we can build Trinity Rep back as a more equitable, inclusive, and just organization for our artists, employees, and community. We hope our patrons will join and support us in this transformative work.”
As the country and community grapple with the trauma of centuries of racial injustice, Trinity Rep is embracing this prolonged pause as an opportunity to examine its historic and current role in upholding structures of racism and oppression, and work towards change. We have chartered a non-hierarchical and representative Anti-Racism Transformation Committee, which will lead these efforts over the next 10 months. The committee, with members from the staff, board of trustees, resident acting company, and the community, will work with a consultant who will provide training and facilitation. The consultant will be hired by the end of September 2020. Though additional goals will be established by the committee, we have set the following preliminary objectives: establishing mandatory formal training and continued learning for all board, artists, and staff; reviewing and adapting all practices and procedures; hosting an anti-racism working forum; creating and supporting affinity groups; and developing an equity, diversity, and inclusion/anti-racism strategic plan. More details, and an opportunity to provide feedback can be found at www.trinityrep.com/antiracism.
This past spring, the education staff immediately transitioned their classes and programs to online platforms, and they continue to reach students digitally. Online classes for K-12 students and adults begin in October, with the hope of returning to in-person classes in 2021. The staff also continues to work with education partners including schools and hospitals. The Project Discovery student matinee program will continue in modified format. Schools will be provided free access to the online production of A Christmas Carol, as well as study guides and other resources throughout the year.
Together, with Brown University, the MFA program staff developed robust safety protocols that allowed students in the graduate acting and directing programs to return to Providence for in-person learning. Classes began on September 9. Students are expected to continue their studies throughout the fall and spring semesters, and pending the state of the pandemic, may resume public performances in winter/spring 2021.
We also remain committed to providing digital content for our audiences. These efforts are anchored by the twice-monthly Facebook Live show, Your Half Hour Call with Curt. On the first and third Thursdays of each month, artistic director Curt Columbus is joined by guests from the local and national theater community for a discussion. The series is sponsored by Washington Trust.
The online production of A Christmas Carol will also be a key component of the season’s digital programming. The show will mark the first time that the 43-year-old tradition will move online. Known for re-imagining the Charles Dickens classic anew each year, in 2020, Trinity Rep will integrate key elements of theatrical storytelling with technological possibilities allowed by digital production. The presenting sponsor of this production is Cardi’s Furniture & Mattresses, with additional support from Textron and individual donors.
For digital content, visit https://www.trinityrep.com/shows/theshowgoeson/.