Venues, performers eye reopening with excitement and caution

Venues, performers eye reopening with excitement and caution

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The show must go on, and on Monday, August 3, it will.

Governor Henry McMaster announced Wednesday theatres, auditoriums, arenas, and other entertainment venues could reopen after months of being closed.

The venues will be limited to 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer.

Koger Center Marketing Director Chip Wade said the announcement is welcome, but now there is work to do.

"This is great news. We're really excited that the governor has done this because it's really good news for the arts organizations that call the Koger Center home because they need to have their patrons to exist," he said.

Wade said the limited capacity will force the Koger Center to get creative.

"It's going to be tough financially to host an event for 250 people and have that be worth the time to do it. That's not to say we wouldn't do it or that financial situation is the bottom line, but we will be limited as to what we can do," he said.

Wade said the center has been working on reopening plans and the announcement allows the center to put them into action.

He said the next scheduled shows aren't until the holiday season.

Columbia City Ballet Artistic Director William Starrett said the company has cut marketing and production costs to curb show expenses.

“The dancers have children, mortgages, car payments, so it’s really important we get them back to work as soon as possible,” he said.

Starrett said he wants to have the company ready to perform The Nutcracker in December.

On a smaller scale, the Columbia Children's Theatre's Executive Director Larry Hembree said the organization isn't taking any chances on a reopening.

"Not going to happen. It's not going to happen. Our first priority is our kids. One time, the first time it happens, we're not going to be happy about that. So, we're really concerned about our kids and of course their parents," he said.

Hembree said the shows will remain online or outside for the foreseeable future.

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