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Public Theater of San Antonio Switches Season to One-Person Shows to Maintain Social Distance 

click to enlarge DANIEL BAUMER
  • Daniel Baumer
The Public Theater of San Antonio is paving the way for COVID-safe theater in a novel way — one-person performances.

As the small, non-profit theater adapts to COVID-19 social-distancing challenges, two things are for certain in the updated season: safety and flexibility.

The amended program, now billed as the 2020-202ONE season, will be comprised of eight of one-person shows.

"This allows us the ability to provide one dedicated dressing room to the performer, reducing liability as well as other needed logistics," Theater Manager Courtnie Merger said in a press release. "Furthermore, no additional performers could compromise the other's health."

With uncertainty about future audience restrictions amid climbing COVID-19 cases, San Antonio's flagship theater's malleable plans prove that regardless of circumstances, the show must go on.

"In the event we can have an audience, we have rights to perform live, and will do so within allowable capacity limitations and applicable social distancing requirements," Mercer said.

However, if The Public Theater, formerly known as the San Pedro Playhouse, is not able to host in-person performances, Mercer said the show will be streamed directly to personal devices. And if the theater is shut down altogether, the company plans to stream shows from the actor's home.

This flexibility is made possible because of legally negotiated streaming rights with publishers and authors.

"At The Public Theater we are doing all we can to provide the City of San Antonio with high-quality theater," CEO and Artistic Director, George Green said in a public statement.

In consideration of safety and capacity limitations, the theater has stuck to virtual-only programming over the summer. Live theatrical Zoom performances, online acting classes and virtual summer camp have enabled the community to stay engaged with the local theater community.

Even with remote programming and a versatile production schedule in place, the Public will be contacting subscribers to offer options for their previous investment in the company. Subscribers can opt to fully transfer their subscriptions to the amended 2020-202ONE season or choose to wait for the 2021-2022 production timeline, which will feature planned productions that were postponed due to the pandemic.

Other options include exchanging subscriptions for gift certificates or donating them to the theater.

"Given the circumstances, we are hopeful this scenario combined with our continued robust virtual programming will convey to our citizens that we are here for them now and will be for years to come," Green said.

The Public will announce the full details of its revised 2020-2021 production schedule soon.

Announcements on the revised production lineup will be posted on The Public Theater's social media accounts. Meanwhile, more information on the company's COVID-19 policies and procedures can be found on their website.

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October 20, 2021

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