The Road Back: On With the Shows

Posted March 2, 2022

Trb March 2 Website

James Ridge (Rough Crossing, 2021) emotes for us as we contemplate the return to our beloved rotating rep! Read more about what that means, and how APT is working through COVID protocols in this week's Road Back.

We know our audience is an inquisitive and well-prepared bunch. You’ve got to be when you’re packing a picnic, dressing for the weather and getting your brain prepared to get down with some classical theater. So it’s no surprise that we’ve received a fair number of calls and emails asking what our COVID protocols will be this season. To be honest, for a couple of reasons, we’re still working that out. So it seemed sensible to get as close to ticket on sale as possible before making the call, to mitigate the changes that might come down the road.

The first consideration is that, though conditions are improving, they could change again before we start to climb the Hill in June, given the unpredictability of this pandemic. Second, our partner unions – especially Actors’ Equity Association – will likely revise the protocols that protect their members at least once before the season begins (for example, leaving the front rows empty to provide distance between the actors and the audience). We are also learning about the new CDC guidance and what that means to us at APT.

Though there are still plenty of pieces moving around the board, rest assured that we will announce audience protocols before tickets go on sale to returning ticket buyers on March 21. And keep in mind that the protocols we put in place this month may be subject to change before and throughout the season, based on pandemic conditions and union regulations.

Overall, we’re planning to be mostly back to pre-pandemic normal this year, especially in ways our audience will notice.

First and foremost, we will be back in our usual schedule, with five plays (three on the Hill and two in the Touchstone) opening in June and another three (two on the Hill and one in the Touchstone) opening in August, and a shoulder season in November. Furthermore, you’ll see most actors in two or three plays.

Is there a risk to this? Yes, there is. APT recently spent dozens of hours modeling the ramifications of a scenario where several actors would need to be out of shows for an extended period, and considering the risks from all sides. In the end, we decided to go ahead as planned, a little nervous, perhaps, but knowing the audience will support us, come what may.

Other “back to normals” of note:

  • We’re very excited that Art in the Woods will be back for its sophomore season after a two-year hiatus. We’ve extended it this year too, so look for our woods to be decked out with environmental art pieces from July 24 through October 9 when the Hill Theatre closes.
  • We’re planning dozens of Beyond the Plays events – Play Talks, Backstage Series presentations, Sunday Salons, and more. Most of them will be in person at John’s Place in the picnic area, but we’re keeping a few on Zoom to reach more people (and, perhaps, to be able to chat with a playwright or two!).
  • Fat Jacks Barbecue returns for three dates this season, and our partners at Hubbard Avenue Diner are ready to make your picnics to pick up at APT.
  • The Badger Bus will once again be running from Madison to APT for one performance of each Hill production.
  • There are also a couple things we’re holding on to this season. The virtual events mentioned above, which give our speakers flexibility, and opens up venues to new artists who would otherwise have to travel to Spring Green. And we’ll be offering an APT at Home virtual performance of Hamlet, which will be available to watch from the comfort of your living room (or wherever) from August 8 – October 8 when the season closes.

And of course, the season won’t really be back to normal until we have YOU here. We hope you make the trip – we’d love to see you.