LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - The Lawton Community Theater has reopened after being shut down by the coronavirus but they say they missed out on tens of thousands of dollars because of the pandemic.
The Lawton Community Theater was forced to cancel the last two remaining shows in their 2019 - 2020 season because of the coronavirus. That has had a huge impact on them financially but they are far from the only theater in the country suffering.
“Nationally we’re estimated to lose $5.5 billion just in canceled events. 210 million admissions canceled due to shutdowns. 348,000 jobs no longer being supported in the arts. Just us personally here at Lawton Community Theater, we’re expected to lose anywhere between $40,000 to $60,000 just because of the shows we’ve had to cancel," said Bryson Petersen, Technical Director for Lawton Community Theatre.
Petersen says many theaters across the country, including here in Lawton, had to make some tough decisions recently.
“A lot of theater administrators said they don’t think they can survive the pandemic. In fact, 10 percent have said that. I think it’s probably going to be even more that don’t. A lot of theaters across the country are completely shutting their doors, they won’t reopen, even Broadway is shut down until September 6th. We’re very fortunate to have a lot of great donors and great support here at Lawton Community Theater, so I think we’ll make it," Petersen said.
They'll make it by beginning to put shows on once again, but for the time being it will be in a new venue - The McMahon Auditorium.
“It is large enough for us to be able to social distance our patrons and our actors as well. We just want to be able to keep everyone safe. We will be asking families to sit together, whoever you came with to sit together, we’ll be taking temperatures, asking people to wear masks. Just to make sure we’re taking all of the precautions to stay safe," said Kaley Patterson, Marketing Committee Chair for Lawton Community Theatre.
The theater will put on their first show at the end of the month and already has others planned for throughout the summer. You can learn more about those performances here.