Posted March 13, 2020 in Press Releases

To Our Near West Theatre Community:

The health and safety of Near West Theatre community, including staff, participants, guests and their loved ones, is our top priority as we take appropriate steps regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

We are continuing to monitor this situation closely to ensure we’re aware of the latest developments and guidance, and we are following directives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). This guidance includes the recent order put in place by Governor Mike DeWine prohibiting mass gatherings in the state of Ohio. As defined in the order, a “mass gathering” is an event that brings together 100 or more persons in a single room or space at the same time, such as an auditorium or theatre. The order also states that whether an event or gathering falls within the definition of mass gathering, all persons are urged to maintain social distancing (approximately six feet away from other people) whenever possible.

In review of the order, and with consultation from our board of trustees, it is with an extremely heavy heart that we announce Near West Theatre’s production of Parade, scheduled to run May 1–17, has been canceled. We cannot predict how developments may change or how long this order will be in place. With such uncertainty, we have a moral obligation to the safety of our intergenerational cast and production team.

Gov. DeWine also announced a three-week spring break for all Ohio schools starting on Monday, March 16th at the end of the school day. Near West Theatre has suspended all programs in coordination with the school closures. Our families have been notified and programs will be suspended until further notice.

The Near West Theatre staff have been encouraged to work remotely as we focus on the health and safety of our community and loved ones.

In general, we encourage all members of our community to follow the CDC recommendations to help stay healthy–including washing hands thoroughly and frequently for at least 20 seconds; sneezing or coughing into a handkerchief, tissue, or your elbow–not your hands; avoid shaking hands; seeking medical attention if you feel symptomatic; and maintain social distancing.

As devastated as we are to share this news, we know these are the right decisions to make for the well-being of our Near West Theatre friends and family. This impacts everyone, and our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to each and every one of you. Our focus now is to take care of one another and provide support where it is most needed. We look forward to seeing everyone again soon.


Mike Obertacz

Executive Director

Near West Theatre

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