The local theater community is being roiled by measures to stem the coronavirus pandemic, and today we learn that both American Conservatory Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theatre have canceled their current and upcoming shows for the next month.
Berkeley Rep out a statement today saying that it was shutting down its productions in recognition of the governor's recommendation Wednesday to cease all gatherings of 250 or more people. In a statement on the theater's website, Berkeley Rep says that all remaining performances of Culture Clash (Still) In America are being canceled, and the next show in the season, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, set to open on March 19, is now being postponed until at least April 5. Officially, the later show is on "hiatus."
"We know this will be disappointing to many of you and perhaps a relief to some," say Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer and Managing Director Susie Medak. "Although in-person performances have been canceled, we are actively engaged in developing an innovative way for you to experience these stellar productions from the comfort of your own home."
ACT put out a similar statement as it announced the cancellation of two shows, Toni Stone (which opened Wednesday), and Gloria, which has been playing at The Strand since mid-February and was scheduled to run through April 12.
Both theaters used the same wording about the upcoming streaming option: "Patrons will be provided exclusive access to a recording of the performance through a partner that will also allow you access to their extensive library of productions, ranging from Shakespearean classics to modern musicals and dramas! We are still working on bringing this all together, but ticket holders will receive an email... with directions on how to access the recording sometime next week. Stay tuned!"
Uncharted territory deserves innovative technological solutions, and the largely senior subscriber base of both theaters will likely love this idea – even though it may present a technical challenge for those with older laptops, etc.
Photo of the Peet's Theater at Berkeley Rep by Sharon Risedorf