DULUTH, MN. (KBJR 6) – The rise in COVID cases fueled by the Omicron variant has had a significant impact on arts organizations in Twin Ports.
Recently, some have made the tough decision to cancel or postpone performances.
“It’s obviously been a year of trying to build momentum for the pandemic,” said Wes Drummond, executive director of The Duluth Playhouse. “But with the omicron peak, it’s kind of impossible to produce theater safely right now.”
The Duluth Playhouse announced it was canceling several upcoming productions, including the musical Spongebob, and postponing “Clue” to later this year.
“Our health and safety plan continues to adapt to the numbers, so approximately every three months we re-evaluate the protocol to ensure guests are safely entering our spaces,” Drummond said.
The Minnesota Ballet has taken a similar step.
“We have made the unfortunate choice to postpone production of our Midsummer Night’s Dream due to the rise of omicron,” said art director Karl von Rabenau. “As disappointing as this is for us, it’s the best thing for our customers and the community.”
He said the postponement was the best choice to keep customers and performers safe.
“Organizationally, from the inside, you know we’re dealing with highly skilled physical dancers,” von Rabenau said. “So it has to do with their primary livelihood. This is where it all starts from the ground up, so we have to take it very seriously.
Drummond said despite the performance hiatus; the arts are always flourishing.
“We are producing live, virtually, then hybrid then in-person theater during a two-year pandemic now,” Drummond said. “We’ve found ways to be innovative, and we’ve found ways to adapt and make sure we can continue to provide art to the community, which is really exciting. I think the community wants it.
Once performances resume, the Duluth Playhouse and Minnesota Ballet will continue their policy requiring people to present a vaccination card or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours to attend all performances.
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