The “stay-at-home” mandates from the government have impacted a wide range of businesses throughout the nation. Those that are seasonal — like many of the small businesses in the Maryland and Delaware beach resort areas — have been particularly hard hit. Instead of opening their doors this shoulder season, they have been forced to stay closed.
The Freeman Stage — the open-air performing arts venue, which is a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation — was scheduled to announce its 13th season lineup in mid-March, with tickets going on sale soon after. Instead, the nonprofit was forced to hit the pause button, like many entertainment venues across the U.S.
The season, which was originally slated to begin Memorial Day weekend, has currently been pushed back to late June, with the organization currently working to reschedule several performances.
“The Freeman Stage is a place to create everlasting memories with family and friends and experience the joy of the arts — and our goal is to continue that in 2020,” said Patti Grimes, executive director. “Although the situation changes daily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working tirelessly to present the arts this summer.”
While the organization is reworking the season to make it feel “right sided” for where they think the situation may be this summer, that could still change, Grimes added.
“We are going to continue to remain fluid with the ever-changing environment, and while we do not know what kind of requirements or restrictions will be mandated by the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention or the government, we’re going to adapt based on what we hear from the authorities,” Grimes said.
In the meantime, the Stage is continuing to bring the arts to its patrons via social media. It started a series, “The Stage is Yours,” on its Facebook page, where artists can submit a short bio and video performance, which may be shared to its more than 30,000 followers bi-weekly.
They are highlighting the arts from Broadway and other arts outlets online as well. The staff is also working with schools to provide arts experiences virtually, through distance learning, and recently held a “Q&A video chat” with sponsors, which 125 sponsors attended.
For more information about the Freeman Stage, visit freemanstage.org or call (302) 436-3015.