Performing Arts

Performing arts directors eager for concerts, shows

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) – Whether you’re on stage performing or sitting in the audience, the loss of entertainment is something we’ve missed during the pandemic.

While local performing arts directors are feeling the effects of the pandemic, there are signs the industry is recovering.

“Starting in 2021, we’re beginning to see events come back to us. We’re very excited over that,” said Marshall Perry, Performing Arts Director at the Dothan Civic Center and Opera House.

The center had 260 contracted days full of events last year. Many of those were canceled due to Covid 19. Perry says the center has been able to keep its’ employees, but they had to make adjustments.

“For example, some of our production team that we have that runs the shows here at the Opera House, they’ve shifted over into working with the commission meetings and helping to live-stream those,” Perry said.

It’s not just the Civic Center who seen the effects. Ann Cotton with the Cultural Arts Center says the center was behind by $15,000 in its last fiscal year, which ended in September.

“In order to meet social distance requirements and seat everybody, instead of a 300 seat auditorium, we have a 70-seat auditorium. Instead of a 150-seat banquet hall, you have a 40-seat. And that is more than half and that’s lost revenue for those tenants,” Cotton, the Executive Director, said.

Cotton said the costs of cleaning supplies are also making an impact, added in with the normal bills.

“Things don’t stop running in your building, you can’t just shut off utilities. They have to run. You can’t not pay your insurance to cover a fire or some other damage. You can’t not cut the grass or keep the shrubbery clean and do the janitorial service,” Cotton said.

Cotton said donors are very important to the Center and that every small amount helps. She said her vendors and artists are finding ways to get through the pandemic.

“So we’re creative, and we’re going to make the most of what we do have, the opportunities that we have and things that cross so that we can show to you and provide shows for you,” Cotton said.

Meanwhile, Perry said that the infrequent use of the Opera House has cut some of the costs of maintenance.

“We’re not having to do a lot of repairs or changes to the building other than having to clean a great deal and making sure that everything is kept safe,” Perry said.

Concerts and shows are planned at each venue in the coming months, which both directors they say will generate some much-needed funding.

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