YORK-Williamsburg Players is planning a slew of new shows this spring and summer on a new outdoor stage in response to the covid-19 pandemic.
Williamsburg Players first experimented with outdoor performances in the fall on a temporary stage in its back parking lot, which were well received. The temporary stage, however, was not weather-proof and had to be put together and taken apart again after each performance.
Thanks in part to a recent $2,200 grant from Williamsburg Community Foundation, Williamsburg Players has been able to construct an outdoor stage that will be able to withstand the elements.
“This year, we wanted to build something that we could at least use through the entire summer, with the idea that we can begin to move back indoors in the fall when a larger proportion of the population has been vaccinated and state restrictions have been reduced,” explained Neil Hollands, President of Williamsburg Players.
The basic stage is set up while backdrop elements and stairs will be added within the next few weeks. The first scheduled show on the new Williamsburg Players outdoor stage will be an Actor’s Showcase, which will be held in three performances on May 8 and May 9.
“When we did our test programs last fall, both audiences and performers had a great time,” Hollands said. “I think all of us were missing the chance to perform and our audiences were missing the chance to be entertained by something other than a screen.”
Other shows lined up for this summer include a program of songs called “Songs of the Golden Age of Broadway” planned for June 5, June 6, and June 12. Williamsburg Players will also host a summer came in July for children ages eight to 18 that will culminate with performances on August 7 and 8. Other fundraising events will be announced at a later date. Safety protocols will remain in place including masks and social distancing.
Like many other arts organizations, Williamsburg Players has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. Many community organizations have stepped up to provide assistance during its time of need including Chesapeake Bank, Rebuild VA, Williamsburg Area Arts Council, and Williamsburg Community Foundation as well as Williamsburg Players patrons.
“Williamsburg Players will survive this hiatus,” Hollands said. “We will continue the tradition of live all-volunteer theatre in Williamsburg into its 64th year of performances in the fall with a full season of shows, building from smaller shows where we can socially distance the audience and building toward larger shows as the community gets closer to herd immunity.”
For ticket information, visit www.williamsburgplayers.org.