As Texas — and Houston — leap forward in reopening, some organizations are taking a step back. Reacting to the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alley Theatre has announced a major operational reorganization and reduction of shows.
The beloved local theater said in a statement that it will cut its 2020-2021 season from eight plays to five, plus A Christmas Carol. Additionally, the Alley will not be producing plays in the 296-seat Neuhaus Theatre next season. Focus will be on the 774-seat Hubbard Theatre, which will be ideal for social distancing requirements.
Another cut includes the troupe’s Alley All New Festival, however, the theater plans to produce a free reading series. A full season will be announced at a later date, according to the Alley. The five-play season run is slated to begin on October 2 and will continue through July 4, 2021.
The Alley is reducing its annual operating budget of $20 million by 35 percent to $13 million. The reduction in income requires the Alley to reduce its staff and cut operating expenses, according to the theater. Remaining staff will take pay reductions and all laid-off staff members will be fully compensated and offered paid health benefits through June 30.
Meanwhile, community engagement programs for public schools, charter schools, private schools, Houston Public Library, and community organizations will continue.
“The Alley is committed to producing a season even in this difficult time. With proper safety protocols and social distancing, we believe that our patrons will be ready to experience live theatre once again,” stated managing director Dean R. Gladden.