The Alvina Krause Theatre is a place of gathering, of community, of shared experience. We can’t be in our theatre right now, and we are hurting financially as a result.
The COVID-19 crisis has shut down our world in ways we never thought possible. With the cancellation of the last four shows of our 42nd season and our inability to produce shows this fall, the canceling of all educational programming, and fundraising events, we estimate that Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble will suffer losses of between $130,000 and $150,000 in earned income.
As the shutdown rolled out, we adapted. Our artists made many theatre school and bedtime story videos to stream for kids. We searched our video vaults for past shows that we could offer online. We made cotton masks to help with the shortages. We have furloughed nearly everybody through the end of July to help BTE survive this financial hit. And it hurts.
While we have received some federal assistance under the CARES Act, including a $50,000 NEA grant, and we are currently pursuing other national and regional funding sources, it won’t be enough to see us through.
To help BTE survive the current crisis and come back next year, we hope that you will consider making a donation today. A gift of any size will make a significant impact toward keeping BTE in our community.
Our plan, along with many other theatres in the United States, is to be back in January 2021, although we will not open until we can offer our patrons a safe experience. The health and safety of our audience, artists, and staff remain paramount.
We hope that you and your family are staying healthy through these trying times.
Take care, and stay safe.
Dear Weis Center Patrons,
We trust that this finds you and your loved ones doing well and staying healthy.
Typically, you receive a new Weis Center brochure in mid-July outlining all of our upcoming season performances. But as we all know, this hasn’t been a typical spring or summer by any means.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health and safety concerns for patrons, artists, and staff, the Weis Center for the Performing Arts will not be hosting any public, large-scale performances through December 2020. We have made this decision in cooperation with Bucknell University, based on current information provided by state and federal public health officials.
While we had a fully-booked fall schedule, many international artists were forced to cancel their tours amid travel and safety concerns. And of course, our primary concern is always the health and safety of our artists and patrons, both international and domestic. We are making efforts to reschedule many of those artists for the following fall.
We are, however, actively planning a spring 2021 season in the hopes that we will be able to hold safe public gatherings at that time. When we do reopen in the spring, we will be implementing stringent protocols to keep patrons, artists and staff members safe, including expanded sanitation measures before, during, and after performances and public health screenings that may include having your temperature taken.
Understandably, we are very disappointed to share this news with you, as the performing arts are needed now more than ever, to inspire, connect, and reinvigorate our communities. But live performances will return. And when they do, we will be more grateful than ever to reconnect with each and every one of you.
In the meantime, please connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. Each week, we post a new “Weis Center Sessions” video, featuring a member of the Bucknell community on the Weis Center stage. Videos will primarily feature live music and poetry readings; we hope they bring you comfort and inspiration during these challenging times.
As plans progress for public performances in 2021, we will continue to keep you updated through social media channels and by email. If you are not already on our e-newsletter list, consider signing up today by sending an email to [email protected]
Thank you for your continued support.
Weis Center Staff
Were this a normal July you would already have received a brochure describing the shows BTE would be offering for our 43rd season of compelling live theatre.
Alas, this is not a normal July for reasons we all know.
I am writing to let you know that Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble will not resume public production of live theatre until at least January 2021.
As have many other performing arts organizations in the United States, we have carefully reviewed what is now known about the safety of indoor public performance while the threat of COVID-19 remains. Based on that review, we have decided that it would be irresponsible for BTE to resume production and performances this fall.
As of today, it is our intention to present a play, circumstances permitting, in mid-January. The show we have in mind is a popular, charming, widely-produced work that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in a way that we hope will be a balm in troubled times. Because negotiations are underway, I can’t reveal the title just yet. Look for a detailed announcement about our 2021 plans sometime before Thanksgiving.
Please be assured that we will not be inviting patrons back to the Alvina Krause Theatre until we are confident that we can do so in a way that mitigates risk in accord with the best advice from public health experts.
If, in January, it is not possible to present a show in a way that ensures a reasonable degree of safety for our artists and audience, we won’t do so.
Finally, let me say how much all of us at BTE miss all of our patrons.
We are all very much looking forward to getting back to the business of making live theatre and re-engaging our audience in the creative dialogue we began in 1978. Thank you for your continued interest and support.
See you in January!
Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble
Across the United States, Americans are struggling to come to terms with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Floyd’s death and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests across the nation have prompted reflection and discussion among Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s artists, staff, and board. The following statement is a reflection of those conversations.
Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble believes in the inherent dignity of all human beings. We stand with those across the country who mourn the deaths of Black Americans whose lives are unjustly taken by members of law enforcement. We acknowledge the insidious force of structural racism and cultural bigotry that impacts the life of every Black citizen of this nation.
We recognize that the overwhelmingly white population of our area creates unique challenges for people of color who live here—be they lifelong residents, students at our local universities, or those who have moved for employment opportunities. Important, hard conversations and decisions must be prioritized within our community and our theater to make Bloomsburg a more welcoming, respectful, and safe environment for people of color.
The employees of BTE recognize the unearned privileges from which we benefit and our fragility as a predominantly white collective. Undoubtedly, there are moments in our history that have made employees, guest artists, and audiences of color uncomfortable. Many have been generous with their feedback despite the emotional labor required. We have no defense—only our pledge to do better.
When we are able to re-open our doors and return to MainStage and educational programming, BTE pledges to examine our efforts and self-education regarding in-house practices and our contributions to the community at large and to create greater opportunity and agency for all artists—Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. BTE affirms the power of live theatre as a tool for understanding. We will do the work to align our behaviors with our intentions.
As you may know, Governor Tom Wolf has announced a plan to “re-open” Pennsylvania by region over the coming months.
The governor has announced that the North Central Region, which includes Columbia and nearby counties, will begin the re-opening process on May 8th
In light of the Governor’s announcement, BTE staff are actively discussing when and how to re-open the Alvina Krause theatre for live performance.
We would very much like you to participate in that discussion by responding to a six-question survey on your thoughts about attending the theatre as social distancing measures are lifted.
We realize that much remains uncertain and that much likely to change, but we believe your input now will help us understand how to best allocate our resources and serve our audience in the weeks to come.
The survey should take no more than 3 minutes to complete. We ask that you kindly submit a response no later than Monday, April 27th.
To participate in the survey, click on the button below to be taken to the online survey form.
Thank you for participating and for your on-going support of BTE.
Schools have closed, stay-at-home orders have been issued, kids and parents are looking for things to do at home, so BTE has moved some of its educational programs online.
The BTE Theatre School is creating videos that can be viewed free-of-charge on a variety of topics including stage combat, stage makeup, and theatre crafts, and, for older kids, theatre history and performance technique. New videos will be added on a regular basis.
VTS videos can be found at www.vimeo.com/channels/btetheatreschool. Please, if you know kids or parents who might be interested in BTE’s Virtual Theatre School, send them this link.
BTE Virtual Theatre School: Making a Mask from Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble on Vimeo.