With the utmost concern for the safety of its audiences, artists, volunteers, staff, and vendors in a time of global pandemic, Alberta Bair Theater must delay its 2020-21 season indefinitely.
“No one is more disappointed with this difficult decision than the ABT board and staff,” said Ron Yates, president of the Alberta Bair Theater board of directors, when referring to postponing the opening of the much anticipated 2020-21 Season. Yates said the board of directors has met frequently since mid-March to discuss how the newly renovated theater would operate under CDC, state, local, and entertainment industry safety requirements. “We have a terrific dedicated staff and a stunning newly-renovated theater in the heart of downtown Billings that will be completed on-time and on-budget later this summer. However, adhering to published re-opening guidelines for the health and safety of our users and the overall community, the theater is unable to re-open as originally planned in September 2020.”
“There were simply too many safety, scheduling, and financial factors to weigh to come to any other conclusion.” Yates said. “The outbreak of COVID-19 happened just as we were finalizing dates for our upcoming season. When our staff ran models of socially distanced seating at a much-reduced capacity with rigorous sanitation, it became clear that our best laid plans for a September 12 grand re-opening were not attainable.”
“As states came under lock down to suppress the spread of the virus earlier this spring, several productions that were booked for the fall rescheduled to spring and summer of 2021.” said Jan Dietrich, executive director. “In addition to Broadway productions moving dates from fall to spring, international artists were having problems getting Visas,” she said. “Most of our performances are national or international touring companies traveling from outside the region through states with different protocols in place. We are monitoring the ability to re-open closely and will open as soon as we can.”
“We hope to announce our season programming as soon as possible, ideally including a rescheduled opening night with Kristin Chenoweth, as previously announced,” she said. “Our programming director has been working hard to get previously-booked events rescheduled for 2021.”