Seattle's ACT - A Contemporary Theatre has canceled its 2020 Mainstage Season due to COVID-19 restrictions. Canceled performances also include the ACTLab season and the Young Playwrights Program.
The company hopes to welcome audiences back to the theatre in spring 2021. Opening, however, cannot take place until Phase 4 is reached in Governor Jay Inslee's reopening plan, which is expected to continue to require physical distancing.
"We assessed our ability to reopen at a reduced capacity and how we could adhere to government advice around safety compliance," said ACT Managing Director Becky Witmer. "The safety of our patrons, artists, staff, and everyone who enters the building is a top priority. Unfortunately, due to the intimacy of our spaces throughout the building, we are unable to provide a safe and viable solution while maintaining distancing, which will continue for some time."
The 2020 Mainstage Season, launching with Sweat, was also scheduled to include The Effect (April 17–May 10), Choir Boy (June 5–28), The Laugh Track (September 1–October 4), and Witch (October 23–November 15).
“The 55th Anniversary Season was curated especially for this milestone year," added Witmer. "ACT was proud to participate in the 50/50 in 2020 initiative to feature a majority female playwright slate and to produce the groundbreaking works by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney. All of the playwrights scheduled for 2020 were artist debuts for the ACT Mainstage and all of the plays were written in the past 10 years; a truly contemporary season. Whether the 2020 plays are programmed in future years is in discussion. For now, ACT will pivot and offer a series of digital theatre events that speak to our time and continue to create engaging community conversations.”
ACT employs 100 people and attracts an attendance over 140,000 each year. The cancellation has resulted in job layoffs in the creative sector, and the lack of programming in the building will negatively impact the local downtown economy.