As Key City Public Theatre artistic director Denise Winter looks to the future, she hopes to present not only a reconfigured 2020 season of shows, but theater camps and activities for cooped-up …
As Key City Public Theatre artistic director Denise Winter looks to the future, she hopes to present not only a reconfigured 2020 season of shows, but theater camps and activities for cooped-up youngsters.
A new adaptation of “Around the World in 80 Days,” the Teen Initiative production of “The Imaginary Invalid” and a distilled Shakespeare in the Park are all projects Winter has on her mind.
But with the Key City Playhouse in Port Townsend shut down, the entire staff furloughed and a long, phased reopening of the economy ahead, Winter can’t set show opening dates, nor can she and KCPT education director Brendan Chambers start inviting kids to camp.
What Winter has decided she can do is plan how the theater can reopen in good health, and on that front, she reported some encouraging news.
KCPT received a few small grants and a Small Business Administration loan to hire back some staff members, while its landlord, Dave Williams, has discounted the rent by 50% and eliminated the water bill through June, and longer if necessary, telling Winter, “I know my tenants will be hurting, and we should all share the hurt. I hope this inspires others to do the same.”
With the theater’s opening months away, though, Winter said this still won’t be enough.
“Given the governor’s guidelines for the ‘Safe Start’ phased re-opening of Washington’s economy and the winding road that will follow, it’s clear that the SBA’s eight-week funding is only a stopgap measure,” Winter said. “It will fall far short of what KCPT will need to re-emerge after the lengthy shutdown.”
Taking into account the loan, grants and KCPT’s reserve, measured against the projected $200,000 loss due to cancellation of more than half its 2020 season, Winter has identified “a solid number that will enable us to restart full operations, when we can do that safely.”
That number is $45,000, and to reach it, the Lifeline Campaign was launched to raise funds to protect KCPT and the local jobs it creates.
Once the theater is open and welcoming patrons again, it can pay the performers and crew who bring the shows to life, Winter said.
There might be some late-summer programming, including a pared-down comedy in Chetzemoka Park.
“‘The Imaginary Invalid’ and ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ are also possibilities for shows that could reintroduce live theater into our community,” Winter said, though at this point, she cannot specify dates. “If all the hurdles are overcome, and it’s absolutely prudent, we will perform. We’re here, and we will be here. We just need this lifeline to get from point A to point B.”
For more information about the Lifeline Campaign and KCPT’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, visit keycitypublictheatre.org.
Donations may also be mailed to KCPT, 419 Washington St., Port Townsend, WA 98368.
To theater lovers, Winter offered a message of thanks.
“We would not have survived this time without you,” she said, “or without our supportive board of directors, our gracious landlord and the sacrifices our staff and artists have made, to keep KCPT in a safe hibernation.”