Due to the ongoing pandemic, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has canceled most performances and events through the end of 2020, with some programs moving to spring 2021 and beyond.
New programming that is within D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s guidelines will be announced in July. New events will take advantage of the Center’s indoor spaces and outdoor green space to create physically distant programming, while some previously planned performances will be relocated to different venues.
The Kennedy Center has also announced its nationally televised annual fall events have been postponed. The 43rd annual Kennedy Center Honors will now take place March 7, 2021, and air at a later date on CBS, and the 23rd Mark Twain Prize for American Humor will be presented June 20, 2021, prior to a later broadcast on PBS. The National Symphony Orchestra Opening Night Gala, scheduled for September 26, has been canceled. Instead, the orchestra will launch a special effort to support the NSO as it celebrates its 90th season in 2020–2021.
The Kennedy Center, which expects to lose an estimated $45.7 million in ticket sales and other earned income during the 2020–2021 season, is looking at cost savings to protect as many staff and artistic positions as possible, and is beginning discussions with its constituent union partners to that effect. The plan to present new, modified activity through the end of 2020 will allow the Center to continue to maintain some level of artistic and administrative staff until the anticipated full reopening.
“Our lives as we have known them have been upended by COVID-19, but the world continues to spin forward and we need artists now more than ever to help light the way,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter. “I am deeply proud of our staff and artists who have been forging new digital stages for audiences in the nation’s capital and across the country, and I am equally excited by the work being done to safely allow us to experience the arts once again in person as well. For our patrons with tickets to fall performances, we do ask for your patience and flexibility as we readjust season schedules.”
Since its March 13 closure, the Kennedy Center has provided at-home programming on YouTube and Facebook. A full list of programs and links can be found on the Kennedy Center at Home webpage.