Jackson Theater returns for 56th season after COVID-19 shutdown

JACKSON, Mississippi (WLBT) – Excitement builds at the New Stage Theater for its 56th season in Jackson.

As we cross the threshold of this pandemic, the summer youth camp that was canceled last year is back. New Stage once again welcomed dozens of students for a special camp to prepare a show called Shrek Junior.

“I’m delighted that we have students in the building right now,” said Sharon Miles, director of education. “I can’t believe we’re really going forward to bring back a season. As things slowly start to open up, it’s just an exciting time to be at Jackson. It is an exciting time to be an artist preparing to welcome our people once again. ”

New Stage closed to the public last March to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It was a difficult decision for many who love the stage and the theater.

“People can’t be together in the same space that we were used to, so I would say it was devastating,” Miles said.

“We were lucky that for the season we had two shows left and most of the people who had their subscriptions donated money to the theater, but we were disappointed that we were not able to complete the 2019 season. -2020 “, said Artististic. Director Francine Reynolds.

Reynolds says they wanted to keep the audience engaged and entertained as well as the staff at work, so they decided to do most of the performances virtually.

“We rotated and showed up to virtual day camp that summer for three weeks because we couldn’t do our day camp in person. Then in person we did a lot of virtual game readings. We also did on-demand streaming of some individual shows, and that person allowed us to create, and that kept us open with very limited capacity.

“For me, we couldn’t be on stage, and all of a sudden we had more time to write plays, think about directing and think about the mission of what you’re trying to do,” Miles said. .

As more people have been vaccinated this year and states have lifted restrictions, New Stage has started its comeback plan.

“Earlier this month, we finally opened to an audience. We did a music review for a small audience. We’re finally going to fully reopen in October and we’re very excited to bring our audience back. “

As New Stage welcomes customers again during this pandemic, keep in mind that there will be some COVID-19 changes and protocols as they greet customers during this pandemic.

“We ask our audience to wear masks because that’s Jackson’s mandate, and we believe it will help create a sense of comfort for the audience.”

They will also offer hand sanitizing stations and contactless action with cash and tickets, and the theater ventilation system has also been improved.

“But we’re all excited for the theater to return,” Miles said.

“There’s this communication that happens between the people who are on stage and a live audience. It’s like a flow of energy, it’s that thing you can always describe, but it’s what people call magic because something new is happening all the time in a live performance.

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