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Classic San Antonio theater lifts curtain on outdoor performances for social distancing

Classic San Antonio theater opens the door to outdoor performances

classic theatre san antonio theater in the rough
The Classic Theatre is heading outdoors. Photo by Siggi Ragnar

Hamstrung by social-distancing guidelines, The Classic Theatre San Antonio is moving its shows to the great outdoors.

The nonprofit professional theater, at 1924 Fredericksburg Rd. in the heart of the Deco District, said June 26 that as long as any sort of social distancing is mandated, its actors won’t be able to perform indoors. “All indications are telling us that social distancing will be necessary well into the year 2021,” the theater’s executive director and artistic director, Kelly Roush, says in a message to the organization’s patrons.

The Classic Theatre is calling its 13th season “a season of Theatre in the Rough.” The nonprofit hopes to open its 13th season this fall. There’s no word yet on performance dates and outdoor locations.

Moving productions outdoors “will allow us to produce excellent theatre while adhering to proper physical distancing measures. We are working on some exciting collaborations to make this happen,” Roush says.

In March, as the spread of the coronavirus turned into a pandemic, The Classic Theatre suspended its productions. They’ve been on hold since then. At the time of the shutdown, the theater was preparing to stage Our Town.

Earlier this month, Roush said that although performing arts venues in Texas were allowed to reopen at a certain capacity, physical distancing was still required and The Classic Theatre wouldn’t be able to welcome back patrons. With the theater’s 99-seat capacity, lone exit and entrance, and small lobby, social-distancing requirements would mean the theater could seat only 10 patrons.

“We long to be together again with our artists and patrons to have a shared experience of live theatre. One of our greatest strengths pre-COVID was the intimacy of our space,” Roush says in the June 26 message. “In the current environment, it is one of our greatest challenges. We have been working diligently to figure out how to continue producing excellent theatre that is relevant, diverse, entertaining, and transformative, and at the same time keeps our patrons, artists, volunteers, and staff safe.”

The Classic Theatre, founded in 2008, stages five major productions per season, plus a series of smaller productions.