BRIEF INTERMISSION: Local arts orgs postpone performances due to Omicron

KBJR 6 News at 10pm
Published: Jan. 23, 2022 at 11:09 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR 6) -The Omicron-variant fueled rise in COVID cases has made a big impact on Twin Ports arts organizations.

Recently, some have made the hard decision to cancel or postpone performances.

“It’s been obviously a year of trying to build momentum out of the pandemic,” said Wes Drummond, Executive Director of The Duluth Playhouse. “But with the spike of omicron, it’s kind of impossible to safely produce theatre right now.”

The Duluth Playhouse announced it’s canceling several upcoming productions, including the Spongebob musical, and postponing “Clue” until later in the year.

“Our health and safety plan continues to adapt with the numbers, so we reassess about every three months about what the protocol is to have patrons safely enter our spaces,” Drummond said.

The Minnesota Ballet made a similar move.

“We made the unfortunate choice to postpone our Midsummer night’s dream production due to the surge of omicron,” said Artistic Director Karl von Rabenau. “As disappointing as it is to us, it’s the best thing for our patrons and the community.”

He said the postponement is the best choice to keep both patrons and performers safe.

“From an organizational aspect, from the inside, you know we’re dealing with highly trained, physical dancers,” von Rabenau said. “So this has to do with their livelihood number one. That’s where it starts from the base, so we have to take that very seriously.”

Drummond said despite the pause in performances; the arts are still thriving.

“We’ve been producing live theatre, virtually, then hybrid and then in person through a two-year pandemic now,” Drummond said. “We’ve found ways to be innovative, and we’ve found ways to adapt and make sure that we can continue to provide the community with art, which is really exciting. I think the community is hungry for it.”

Once performances start up again, both the Duluth Playhouse and Minnesota Ballet will continue their policy requiring people to show a vaccination card or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours to attend all performances.

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