Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion moves toward reopening as coronavirus restrictions ease




The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion plans to reopen for shows beginning this summer. 
(Courtesy Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion)
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion plans to reopen for shows beginning this summer. (Courtesy Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion)

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion plans to reopen for shows beginning this summer. (Courtesy Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion)

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion was one of the first venues in The Woodlands area to cancel events in 2020 as the COVID-19 shutdown began last March, but as of this spring its schedule is beginning to populate with shows into the fall, and Pavilion President and CEO Jerry MacDonald said he hopes to see the venue host a full season going into 2022.

Despite a year with essentially no revenue, the Pavilion has been able to keep its full-time employees on staff and did not conduct any furloughs, he said. It was able to leverage a rainy day fund alongside funds from federal Payment Protection Program loans, which covered five months of salaries, he said. The Pavilion has 30 full-time employees on its staff, but an additional 300 are hired for seasonal employment during the concert season.

The Pavilion was among the businesses in The Woodlands area to receive between $350,000 and $1 million in funding from the PPP in July, which was rolled out as a loan that could be forgiven to help organizations pay their employees.

“We kept busy and worked on things around the facility. ... It’s a 13-acre plan you can’t just walk away from; it still takes a number of people to maintain the systems here and keep things operating,” he said.

The venue has hosted several events this year, such as a symphony concert May 2, and it plans to host high school graduations for Conroe ISD in late May. The venue follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in requiring masks for employees and screening them before they enter. Additional cleaning is conducted, and personal protective equipment is provided, he said.


The venue has also implemented a no-bag policy, aside from diaper bags and those that are medically necessary, according to Pavilion policies.

Another project thwarted by the pandemic was a plan to pursue a performing arts center next to the Pavilion. The Woodlands Township’s board of directors had approved looking into the viability of a new cultural center in early 2020, but in July it put those plans on hold at the request of the Pavilion.

“We put that on hold because the pandemic had shut everything down and we didn’t have the funding, but once our events start coming back and we know we’re back online and generating revenue, we will meet with the township and start that program again,” MacDonald said.

The Pavilion’s closure has also affected the township’s finances. In the March 31 financial report presented to The Woodlands Township board of directors, Monique Sharp, assistant general manager for finance and administration, said revenues for the year to date were down $259,000 mainly because of a lack of events admission tax revenue due to the Pavilion being closed.

MacDonald said he feels the live events will resume their usual operating schedule as more people get vaccinations and their comfort levels increase in public.

“Things are looking a lot brighter, and with every week that goes by, there is more clarity to what we can do and where our season is headed,” MacDonald said.

(Editor's note: The times for the Conroe ISD graduations initially appeared incorrectly. The correct times are given below.)

Upcoming events

This list is not comprehensive and previously scheduled events are subject to change.

May

16 The Pavilion Partners wine dinner and auction, 5 p.m.

www.woodlandscenter.org/wine-dinner

20-22, 24-26 Conroe ISD high school graduation ceremonies, 7:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. May 22)

www.conroeisd.net

29-30 “Boni’s Dance Presents: A Tribute to Broadway,” 6 p.m.

June

27 Chicago, 6:30 p.m.

July

10 Los Aguilar, 8 p.m.

September

4 Buzzfest featuring The Offspring, 2:40 p.m.

October

2 Parker McCollum, 7 p.m.

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

2005 Lake Robbins Drive,

The Woodlands

281-364-3010

www.woodlandscenter.org

By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


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