BNHS COVID-19 Updates

UPDATE May 11, 2020 4:30PM:

Announcement from the Executive Director

The temporary closing of the Chubb Theatre and Bank of New Hampshire Stage has significantly impacted us and the future continues to be very cloudy.  It has been especially hard for us not to be physically open for you, especially when we’re in the business of bringing artists and patrons together to immerse themselves in the performance and step away from their worries and concerns for a few hours.

From our first show postponement, the Capitol Center for the Arts has strived to be a community leader.  We immediately put together plans to help keep our staff, volunteers, performers, customers, and vendors safe. We adjusted our refund policies and did our best to communicate scheduling changes in a timely manner.  We worked hard to continue to engage our customers through social media. We asked for the financial help we needed while being mindful of — and sensitive to — the challenges our donors might also be facing.  With the guidance of our Board of Trustees, we looked at the “big picture” and made some difficult decisions to ensure that we’d make it through an unprecedented time. We also continue to work with our state government and other arts centers to provide guidance and insight.

We often get asked when we think we might reopen.  Unfortunately, we have no definitive answer since things still continue to change daily. We will need the Governor to give the green light for large public gatherings which he has said will be based on health data. In addition, there is a great deal of planning to make sure we reopening in a way that provides the quality of experience our patrons have come to expect from us. These include the availability of performers; occupancy and seating; the logistics of lines for tickets, drinks, concessions, and bathrooms; additional staff/volunteer training; and yes, profitability.  Like you, we sometimes feel like the only certain thing is uncertainty.  I write this at a time where we ordinarily would be announcing our fall schedule and other upcoming 2020-21 performances.  This upcoming season was to be even more special than usual: it’s our 25th Anniversary.  Advance ticket sales in May and June help keep the CCA operating through the summer and into the fall, when performances would ordinarily begin again. We are disappointed not to be able to fill our web site and your mailbox right now with details of our upcoming performances, concerts, and other events.  But we’re doing everything we can to make sure our upcoming 25th Anniversary is nevertheless a memorable one.

Leisure/entertainment was one of the first industries to be hit by the arrival of the pandemic. It has been hit more severely than others and may likely be one of the last to reopen. We’re doing our best to figure out how to bring people together in a world that still asks them to keep their distance. Until then, we’ll continue to check in on you on a regular basis, to see how you’re doing and let you know what we’re up to.

Thank you for your ongoing patronage and support of the Capitol Center for the Arts, Chubb Theatre, and Bank of New Hampshire Stage.   We are so grateful to those who have stepped up and continue buying show tickets, memberships, and gift cards, as well as those who are making donations and checking in to see how we are faring.  Your faith in us keeps us going day after day. We hope you are looking forward to our 2020-21 25th Anniversary Season as much as we are.   We look forward to welcoming you back into our venues as soon as it is practicable to do so.

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UPDATE May 7, 2020 12:30PM:

 

 

 

CCA Executive Director Nicki Clarke will be presenting recommendations to the governor’s Economic Re-Opening Task Force this afternoon.  Public comments are being accepted at nhreopen@nheconomy.com  There will be a public comment meeting tomorrow that people can dial in to give their comment.(See https://www.nheconomy.com/reopeningtaskforce   (We encourage people to express their opinion in support of a sooner than later reopening of performing arts venues.)

 

The CCA  has also joined NIVA (The National Independent Venue Association; https://www.nivassoc.org/).   Their mission is to support and protect the interests of independent venues and promoters. (We encourage you to check out their “take action” page at https://www.nivassoc.org/take-action)

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UPDATE May 1, 2020 2PM:

Announcement from the Executive Director

In March 2020,  the entire performing arts touring industry came to an abrupt halt.  The Governor’s Emergency Declaration effectively closed operations at the Capitol Center for the Arts and our staff have continued to work remotely since then.  The past several weeks have been an intense period of activity.  We have been busy rescheduling shows, addressing patron requests, processing refunds, accepting donations, and checking in with our performers, agents, donors, sponsors, and volunteers. We’ve also been doing our very best to plan for the future, so that we can be ready to welcome you back when we believe it is safe and appropriate to do so.

As you might imagine, this ongoing preparation has not come without sacrifice and some difficult decisions.  While we have received some assistance through the CARES Act and your generous donations, it has not been enough to allow us to keep our entire staff employed through the rest of our 2020-21 season and through the rest of the summer.

Therefore and with a very heavy heart, I regret to announce that all but eight CCA employees will be placed on furlough, beginning on May 3 or June 1. It hurts deeply to break up this team, but it is necessary to do so to get through this crisis and re-emerge on the other side.

We are speaking with the Governor’s Re-Opening Task Force to help a road map that will lead to our eventual reopening. However,  it is not yet clear when — and under what conditions —  that reopening will happen. We remain dedicated to mitigating the damage to our operations, so that our employees/volunteers, performers, and audiences will have a place to return to in the future. We also understand that this staff reduction may impact the level of service you’ve come to expect from us. Please know you can continue to reach out to us by phone, email, web site and social media. These messages will be routed to the appropriate staff and we’ll do our best to help you in a timely manner.

When we are allowed and fully prepared to reopen, we’ll do our best to bring back the extraordinary individuals that currently make up the CCA staff. I feel privileged to work with this talented and dedicated group of people and know that many of them are special to you, too.   I look forward to when they and I can continue to provide you with quality entertainment, help you build great new memories, and take away your worries for a few hours.

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UPDATE April 23, 2020 10:30AM:

The conversation surrounding the pandemic turned a corner this week and the topic of re-opening the economy was front and center. Governor Sununu’s office talked about “a smart, phased approach that is rooted in science and data” and he has appointed a task force to help him develop a plan. The CCA, along with fellow theatres in the state, are working to make sure our voices are heard in the development of this plan.

At this point we do not know the timeline, nor the rules we will required to follow, but we are excited by the thought of welcoming you back into our venues.  Because we own and operate two venues of different sizes, we anticipate that our reopening will be staggered and only when we believe we can keep our patrons, staff, volunteers, and performers healthy and safe. As it looks right now, the Bank of New Hampshire Stage would likely reopen first — perhaps even within the next few weeks, depending on the situation at that time —  as we present local and regional artists that can easily get to Concord. Our programming staff has been hard at work rescheduling the music groups that had to postpone spring performances. Staff is also engaging many new artists.  Once we feel solid on a reopening date for the Bank of NH Stage, we will formally announce this through traditional and social media outlets and our e-newsletter.

The reopening of the Chubb Theatre is likely to lag behind as it depends on national tours and we want to be more confident that these tours are fully committed to going out . We have worked hard to reschedule spring shows and many of those shows are on-sale now.  We would like to follow our tradition of a “big” announce for new season’s shows, but we may have to change that up depending when these national tours are ready to announce.

We know we will need to be nimble and responsive to changing conditions, but we know that we’ll get through this together. For the time being, please know that your ongoing ticket sales, gift card purchases, memberships, and donations mean the world to us and bring in vitally-needed funds that allows us to keep working hard for you.

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UPDATE April 3, 2020 4PM:

Our first priority is to ensure the safety and health of our staff, volunteers, patrons and performers. Much has changed over the past few weeks and it’s difficult to predict exactly when the Capitol Center for the Arts will reopen again. While we first thought that we’d have to reschedule events for only a few weeks, it more likely than not will end up being much longer. Due to the nature of the performing arts industry and the fact that many of the shows and events we welcome onto our stages are part of larger national tours, things can get very complicated. We have to look at not only when it’s safe for New Hampshire businesses to reopen and the community to come together again in large groups, but all the other parts of the country where our performers might have been. Also, each performance contract we negotiate involves a large financial commitment, something we never take lightly. And there’s always the logistical challenge of finding show dates that work for both the performers and our venues, something at which our Programming team excels.We hope to be able to make the upcoming events in May/June work, including Piff the Magic Dragon, Juston McKinney, and Kevin James.

At this point, we’ve rescheduled or cancelled dozens of shows between our two venues: the Chubb Theatre and the Bank of New Hampshire Stage. We expect this will continue to happen in the weeks ahead. We also closed our box office to the public ahead of the Governor’s recent stay-at-home Order. We’ve put a process in place to update ticket holders of the affected shows through emails or phone calls. We also continue to post the most up-to-date information we have available on our web site and social media pages. We appreciate your patience as we work through this challenging and unprecedented situation and look forward to seeing you back in our venues when this crisis has passed.

Unfortunately, this means that we’ll be postponing our May 2020 Open House and BBQ. This is one of our favorite events of the year, because we get to speak with so many of our patrons and preview our upcoming season. We were especially looking forward to it this year, as we prepare for our 25th Anniversary Season.  The ticket sales generated at this annual event help us keep our operations going during the slower summer months, so we’ll have to be more creative with our budget this year (something we know our patrons will have to do as well).

Precautions Against Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We continue to monitor and evaluate our procedures according to the guidance, recommendations, and orders of the CDC and local and State officials. The following precautions are designed to protect the public and we’ll be using them well after the COVID-19 situation has passed. We understand that people will be cautious when they return to our venues in the future and we want to do everything we can to make them feel comfortable and safe when they do so.

We’ve changed  the way we interact with our patrons, vendors, delivery personnel, and performers:

  • We’ll greet you with a wave or other non-contact greeting
  • We’ll be scanning tickets differently, to avid spreading germs
  • We won’t reuse our playbills or other printed promo materials
  • We’ll conduct transactions, like ticket sales, with any appropriate physical distancing

 

We’ve  enhanced the way we clean our venues and offices:

  • We’re cleaning our surfaces, handrails, and doorknobs much more frequently
  • We’ve replaced our cleaning solutions with a disinfectant version, to provide enhanced germ-free environments at every touch point
  • We’ve added several new hand sanitizer dispensers in both venues

 

We also ask our visitors to be mindful of the health of their friends and neighbors by doing the following:

  • Do not attend a CCA event if you are not feeling well and/or are exhibiting symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your (or anyone else’s) eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve or arm – not into your hands

 

Ticket Policy

  • Capitol Center for the Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Typically, all ticket sales are final, but we understand that these are extraordinary times.
  • If  you are ill and cannot attend an event that you have purchased a ticket for, we are pleased to either:
  1. Issue an account credit for the face value of your tickets, which can be used for any future performance.
  2. Convert the ticket value to a charitable donation.

We beg you not to come to the CCA sick and risk infecting others.

  • If your show has been rescheduled or cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, we will make every reasonable attempt to reach you by the phone number or e-mail we have on file for you to explain your options.

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