The Freeman Stage is known for bringing arts to the community, but this nonprofit performing arts venue is also being impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) and Delaware’s State of Emergency.

Initially planning to announce the 2020 summer season lineup with its usual high-profile, midweek press conference, on March 18, and then postponing until March 25 and switching to an online announcement, the Freeman Stage has now postponed that announcement until further notice.

“Certainly, as a global society, we are all going through really tough times today around this global health crisis, and like anyone, we are struggling to figure out just how to release our 2020 summer lineup,” said Freeman Stage President and Chairperson Michelle Freeman in an online video.

The staff worked hard to assemble “a truly incredible line-up of artists,” Freeman said. “What we truly believe, to our very core, is that the arts heal, that the arts are a source of joy, and that any difference, the arts put aside and make us one.”

The outdoor performing arts venue now entering its 13th season, usually presenting more than 60 performances a year, and attracting more than 80,000 residents and visitors a year.

But for the purpose of Delaware’s State of Emergency, performing arts venues are among the “non-essential” businesses that must close from March 24 until May 15, or until further notice from the governor.

“We will let you know what’s going on as soon as it’s prudent and wise to do so,” with respect to guidelines from health experts, Freeman said. “We want you to continue to seek out arts opportunities virtually wherever you are … and keep the faith. We will be back.”

She encouraged all people to “be good to one another” and to help bring this situation to an end.

“What we’re all hoping and striving for is that we’ll get to be together this summer at the Freeman Stage, celebrating what’s great about the arts.”

The nonprofit Freeman Stage is a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. Details are online at

Staff Reporter

Laura Walter is an award-winning reporter on schools, environment, people and history. A graduate of Indian River High School and Washington College, she has rappelled off a building and assisted a magician, and encourages readers to act on local issues.