Moving swiftly to take the kind of step that other Boston-area theaters are likely to consider and possibly emulate amid pervasive concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, Stoneham’s Greater Boston Stage Company announced Friday that it will push back the start of its upcoming season to February 2021.
“We simply do not have confidence that public safety concerns will allow us to bring together the cast and crews, or audiences of the size necessary to make producing financially feasible, for the foreseeable future,’’ producing artistic director Weylin Symes said in a statement. “We don’t want to promise you a season full of shows that we feel we will eventually have to cancel.’’
Symes said that the season the company recently announced to subscribers “seemed eminently feasible’’ at the time, but that “[i]n the weeks since, and after hearing the Massachusetts plans for reopening, we have come to the conclusion that expecting a ‘traditional’ theatrical season to happen in these ‘untraditional’ times is more than a stretch.’’
Meanwhile, in Boston, ArtsEmerson canceled the highly anticipated engagement of Step Afrika!’s “Drumfolk,’’ which had been slated for the Cutler Majestic Theatre July 22-Aug. 1. “The City of Boston has now cancelled summer events and have asked everyone else to do the same,’’ ArtsEmerson artistic director David Dower noted in a statement Friday. “Since the beginning of this health ordeal, every decision we have made has been to protect the health of the patrons, staff, and artists that make up the ArtsEmerson community. And this decision is no different.’’
Dower said that ArtsEmerson hopes to bring “Drumfolk’’ to Boston “in the near future,’’ but said that “given the shifting nature of government projections and expert guidelines, we are not able to pinpoint new dates at this time.’’
In Stoneham, GBSC’s Symes said that if “it turns out that we are wrong and we are able to bring audiences back safely to the Theatre sooner, we will happily re-think our plans. Believe us, we’re itching to get back to the stage!’’