The Grand Opera House in Wilmington announces its first wave of indoor shows since the coronavirus started over a year ago.
When artists start taking the stage at The Grand’s three venues this September, 563 days will have passed since the last indoor shows.
"For a performing arts organization to not be able to serve its primary mission, it’s a real challenge," Mark Fields, executive director of The Grand, “We could have just slumped our shoulders and waited it out, but we decided to pivot and do other kinds of things to bring the arts to the public.”
Those other things included Concerts by Car at Frawley Stadium, their Drive-In Cinema at Bellevue State Park and the holiday Drive-Thru Light Show on Wilmington’s Riverfront. Fields says they helped The Grand weather the financial hit it took during the pandemic.
Now, the focus is on bringing audiences back inside the venues. And Fields says restarting from an extended full stop is complex,.
“Because we are a presenter of touring artists," said Fields. "And even if we were already to go and had everything lined up here, we would still need artists to be on tour and be available to us. And this pandemic affected the whole world of course; and the way it affected our industry is that it pretty much ground to a halt. People quit touring and venues closed.”
Fields notes that reopening also requires responding to ongoing safety concerns and guidelines.
But he believes they’ve developed a strong schedule to draw audiences back - one with variety and diversit. It includes acts like The Temptations and comedian Lewis Black, as well as Jane Lynch bringing a holiday cabaret show to town
Tickets for the first scheduled indoor shows go on sale to the general public on July 6, 2021.
The full line-up can be seen at The Grand's website.
Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.