With the recent announcement that Broadway theaters will remain closed for the remainder of 2020, Actors’ Equity has approved the reopening of two regional theaters. Barrington Stage Company and Berkshire Theatre Group, both based in Massachusetts, will resume performances in the coming months in collaboration with Equity, becoming the first theaters to reopen since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered theaters in March.
Barrington Stage Company, located in Pittsfield, will reopen in August with Harry Clarke, a one-man show that will employ two Equity members—a performer and a stage manager. “It has been a long road figuring out all of the social distancing and safety protocols that were needed for both the actor and the audience,” said Julianne Boyd, artistic director of Barrington Stage Company. “We are delighted that we will be able to reopen the theater with Harry Clarke.”
Berkshire Theatre Group is putting on Godspell in Stockbridge with a cast of 10 and two stage managers. Both theaters have agreed to safety features that include testing for Equity members and those who come in contact with them. Berkshire Theatre Group will stage Godspell as an outdoor production for 96 audience members while Barrington Stage Company is using its indoor facilities and has reduced its house capacity from over 500 to 163.
“We have been working daily and in the true spirit of care and collaboration with Actor’s Equity Association for the past several weeks,” said Berkshire Theatre Group Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire. “Our industry, which has been devastated by this global pandemic, will be served by their seriousness, data driven wisdom and profound understanding of the need for artists to rebuild. I am so proud that Berkshire Theatre Group, nearing its 100th anniversary, will be authorized and granted the responsibility to produce the musical Godspell.”
Equity continues to review safety plans and questions on health and safety from producers on a daily basis.