Studio Tenn’s board of directors voted to postpone the launch of the theater’s 2020-21 season until February, and as a result, the company will furlough the majority of staff effective July 13.
“We are heartbroken, yet hopeful,” said Artistic Director Patrick Cassidy. “Obviously this decision was extremely difficult, but we firmly believe it is the best way forward to ensure that Studio Tenn weathers the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to lead the way as Franklin’s resident professional theater company for years to come.”
Cassidy said that Studio Tenn has received incredible community support through its development campaign, “The Show Will Go On.” However, the inability to sell tickets creates a snowball effect that development initiatives simply cannot outrun.
“We must prioritize the safety of our patrons, our staff and performers,” Cassidy said. “Currently, the local and union COVID-19 safety guidelines create a situation where crowd sizes for any potential main stage show would not be large enough for us to make a profit. We have thoroughly examined all options, and we feel that this is the best and safest course of action for everyone involved.”
In an email to friends of the theater, Studio Tenn wrote the following:
So what does this mean going forward?
1) Studio Tenn is not going away! Over the next few months you will see us continue to produce virtual content, including the hit web series “Studio Tenn Talks: Conversations with Patrick Cassidy,” and we will continue to grow our new and highly popular educational efforts. If possible, we hope to produce small cabaret live performances as local restrictions are eased. Follow our Facebook page @studiotenntheatrecompany to receive updated information.
2) We are hopeful of launching an abbreviated season in February of 2021, that will include “The Aretha Legacy” and “9 to 5 the Musical,” which were both part of the original 2019/2020 season. Of course, this timeline will be contingent on the state of COVID-19 restrictions as we move closer to the new year.
3) We plan to announce the remainder of the spring 2021 season in early October with season tickets made available shortly thereafter. Single tickets will go on sale in November.
4) Tickets that have been purchased for “The Aretha Legacy” and “9 to 5 the Musical” will still be honored as previously communicated. You can find out more about our ticketing on our website, studiotenn.com, or by emailing [email protected]. If you find that you are unable to attend a show for which you have purchased tickets, please consider donating your tickets back to the company.
Studio Tenn is committed to continuing to pay health insurance premiums for furloughed staff members for as long as it is possible to do so. If you would like to give to support this cause, those gifts can be made at studiotenn.com through “The Show Will Go On” campaign, or by mailing a check to Studio Tenn (1309 Pemberton Heights Drive, Franklin, TN 37067).