Two important Rhode Island theaters announced Wednesday that they will push back the starts of their previously scheduled seasons from September to January due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Providence’s Trinity Repertory Company, a major regional theater, and the Warwick-based Gamm Theatre took the steps amid continuing concerns about outbreaks of the coronavirus within the confined spaces of theaters should they reopen.
Citing “the health and safety of our artists, patrons, and staff,’’ Trinity Rep said it will delay the start of its subscription season, although at least for the time being the theater has not postponed its popular annual November-December production of “A Christmas Carol,’’ a reliable money-maker. However, the release noted that “if public health necessitates further changes to the schedule, those adjustments will be made as more information is known.’’
Announcing the rescheduling of the start of his company’s season to January, Gamm artistic director Tony Estrella said in a statement: “While we may feel ready to ‘re-open’ our lives and come together again, the realities of the pandemic mean that public safety and the long-term health of our community must be our first priority. We sincerely hope that this extended hiatus will allow us to do our part in containing and suppressing the virus, and to ready us for the power and thrill of gathering in the new year, eager once more to enjoy ‘great reckonings in little rooms.’ ’’
Many theater companies are wrestling with whether to go ahead with their fall seasons. Boston’s ArtsEmerson and Stoneham’s Greater Boston Stage Company are among the companies that have pushed back programming to January 2021 at the earliest.