Studio Tenn’s board of directors voted to postpone the theater’s 2020-21 season until February of next year and will furlough the majority of its staff as a result of coronavirus concerns.
“We are heartbroken, yet hopeful,” Artistic Director Patrick Cassidy said in a release. “Obviously this decision was extremely difficult, but we firmly believe it is the best way forward to ensure that Studio Tenn weathers the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to lead the way as Franklin’s resident professional theater company for years to come.”
Despite receiving financial support from the Franklin community through its “The Show Must Go On” campaign, Cassidy said the inability to sell tickets was too much for the theater to continue running.
“We must prioritize the safety of our patrons, our staff and performers,” Cassidy said. “Currently, the local and union COVID-19 safety guidelines create a situation where crowd sizes for any potential main stage show would not be large enough for us to make a profit. We have thoroughly examined all options, and we feel that this is the best and safest course of action for everyone involved.”
According to the release from Studio Tenn, the theater will continue to provide digital content and hope to put on small live cabaret shows as restrictions are eased. Additionally, the theater will continue to pay health insurance premiums for furloughed staff “as long as it is able to do so.”