December 6, 2021

Show mostly ready to go on

Cortland County arts, entertainment venues to open starting April 2

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

The question of arts venues reopening for performances isn’t simply a matter of what the state will allow, said Kerby Thompson, producing artistic director of the Cortland Repertory Theatre, which is now displaying an exhibition of pandemic art. The question is also what audiences are comfortable with.

Cortland County arts and entertainment venues are preparing to open their doors and raise the curtains on concerts and performances starting April 2 as state guidelines allow more people in the audience, but some plan to delay high-density events until summer.

Venues will be able to have up to 100 people indoors and up to 200 people outdoors, if they socially distance and wear masks.

“New Yorkers have done a tremendous job working to defeat COVID, and we’re gradually loosening restrictions as the numbers reduce and the public health improves,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in announcing the guideline change.

Still, some venues, like the Cortland Repertory Theatre, plan to hold off the crowds until the summer.

“I think if and when we do something, it will be outside,” said Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson. “We’re talking with the county about the pavilion and the park grounds and we want to work with them about what we can do in the park.”

Financially, venues are weighing their options to see if they can, or would, make a profit with the capacity limits.

“There’s the argument that people are dying to get out of the house and go see something,” Thompson said. “On the other hand, there are a lot of people that won’t feel comfortable mingling with other people, yet.”

The Center for the Arts of Homer has relied on donors, sponsors and community support to survive the pandemic, said Executive Director Ty Marshal. The added event income will be nice, but the center will continue to rely on donors and sponsors.

“We have an enormous support system in our community and they have kept us floating,” Marshal said. “While live performances are a large chunk of our annual budget in a normal year, we are blessed to have a lot of different opportunities to keep things operating and keep the community engaged.”

The center for the arts re-routes patrons through the theater to reduce contact; the repertory theater is delaying indoor events, and eliminating intermissions.

“We are following state guidelines closely and offering what we can, following state mandates,” Marshal said. “We already had plans and intentions of welcoming small audiences when we could in ways that we could.”

The center will begin showing movies on March 12, starting with “Tommy.” The bar will be open for refreshments and snacks.

“We are in the planning stages for spring and summer offerings,” Marshal said. “We want to offer indoor performances, parking lot performances, drive-in concerts and more.”