American Players Theatre
5950 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 819
Spring Green, WI 53588
Box Office: 608-588-2361
A new season update from Artistic Director Brenda DeVita, and "The Road Back"
Check out Brenda's video update on the season, and "The Road Back" announcement here.
Since the moment we were forced to cancel the 2020 season, we have been planning for 2021. Those plans have changed, and changed again. And again. They are, in fact, in an almost constant state of flux. But throughout all the planning and re-planning, our determination to bring you a season this year has never wavered. We’re hopeful that it can be live and in person. If that’s not possible, in part or in whole, we will have contingencies in place to bring you stories in whatever form is available to us. What we do know is that this season is shaping up to be nearly as unpredictable as the last. Maybe more so. And we will continue to navigate, evolve and share our progress every step of the way.
The first step on this journey to 2021 is “The Road Back,” our new blog series. It’s going to get in the weeds on the details of just what it’s going to take to safely perform live again - a snapshot of what we’re working on week-by-week as we encounter challenges and successes. More on that later. Today, as a bit of a preamble, we want to share an overview of what the 2021 APT season is – and is not – going to look like; because you can expect it will be different than any that has come before, or, hopefully, after.
First, we won’t be able to do all the plays that were in the 2020 season.
When we canceled 2020, our plan was to simply move those plays into 2021, believing that 12 months was plenty of time for normalcy to return again. But as the pandemic dragged on, it became increasingly clear that that would not be the case. We hope that a few of the 2020 titles will remain on the docket, but we know that some of them are simply too large to do under the current circumstances. There would be too many people, sharing too little space. On stage, backstage, in the dressing room, in the rehearsal room.
Artistic Director Brenda DeVita said, “In talking with the artists who will be working on the upcoming season, what we’ve realized is that it’s a joy and a privilege that we’re even able to discuss producing plays on stage right now. We’re thrilled about the conversations that we’re having, and about exploring the titles that will make up this one-of-a-kind season. Though it’s not possible to support some of the epic, sweeping stories that we had planned - it’s just not safe to have the number of actors a play like Julius Caesar requires on stage and in close proximity - we’re provided with an exciting opportunity to produce plays that we’ve been interested in, but that may not otherwise have shared a season or a stage. We hope you’ll join us and see for yourself. That you’ll find joy in being on the grounds, and in the plays that eventually make up this season. And that we’ll be back to full scale for summer ’22 and beyond. We’re already planning for it."
Also, we’ll need to adjust our schedule.
The festival nature of APT is one of our hallmarks. We love that our audience is able to see a double feature in the afternoon and evening, or see up to eight plays over the course of a long weekend. Sadly that won’t be possible this year. Our company will need to work in “bubbles” (like pro basketball, but without Disney World) to guard against exposure to and spread of the virus. So, plays will mostly take place one at a time, or, if possible, in pairs. We know that might be disappointing, but it is the only way to keep our actors, our staff and our audience as safe as possible. And please know, our trademark rotating repertory will return again in the future.
Finally, we’re embracing uncertainty, and ask you to do the same.
We’ve learned a lot about working through uncertainty over the last year. First and foremost, we’ve accepted that the virus is calling the shots, and we must adjust accordingly. Because of this, many of the APT benchmarks you’re accustomed to will look different, or be entirely unavailable. We don’t know when we’ll have enough certainty to announce the plays, or publish a schedule, or sell tickets. But we believe those days will come. And when they do, we hope you’ll be with us; because even though parts of the APT experience will be different this year, our mission remains. The stories remain. The stars remain.
In the coming weeks we’ll tell you in more detail about our plans. We’ll start with one of the very first hurdles we need to clear to get actors back on stage – meeting the safety requirements set out by Actors’ Equity Association, the labor union that represents professional actors and stage managers.