Delaware Shakespeare’s summer production of “The Tempest” will not happen as planned this summer.
A casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the board and staff of Del Shakes said the timing of the state likely entering Phase Two of its “reopening” was too challenging to safely gather more than 30 cast and crew for active rehearsals in close quarters.
“Before we can welcome an audience, we first have to welcome artists,” said Julie Russ, Board President.
Russ also acknowledged “financial realities” that required a rethinking of this summers Rockwood Park production schedule, which will now be postponed until 2021.
“The financial realities of performing to radically reduced crowds were also daunting, and Delaware Shakespeare has always carefully stewarded its resources. We are acting now to ensure the financial resources are in place to continue creating great theatre for many years into the future.”
Performances of “The Tempest” were to begin July 17. Del Shakes said a recent poll of audience members showed a majority would expect to see physical distancing measures in place to feel comfortable watching a performance at Rockwood Park.
The organization said physical distancing would reduce the audience size at Rockwood to 30 percent of its normal capacity and that producing “The Tempest” could not be achieved “in a fiscally responsible manner” with only one-third of budgeted ticket sales.
DelShakes hopes to offer a smaller-scale event at Rockwood this summer
All professional artists, crew and summer staff have been compensated for their time to date working on “The Tempest.” Current holders of Festival Passes and Two-Show Packages will be contacted to discuss their options.
Now in their 18th season, Delaware Shakespeare said it is exploring various options to engage audiences this summer and possibly offer a “smaller scale” event at Rockwood Park if public health conditions allow.
Shakespeare-loving fans can view Del Shakes actors reading sonnets each weekday in videos posted on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as well as participate in online salons such as this Saturday’s “Tales from Tour, Vol. 1,” a Zoom discussion with three veteran actors from Del Shakes Community Tours.