Jun 3, 2020 at 4:59 PM
Even when Gov. Mike DeWine permits Ohio entertainment venues to reopen for movies, concerts, live theater and other events, will audiences be comfortable attending?
With this question in mind, 16 performing arts venues around Ohio have joined forces to survey their audiences about when and how they will be comfortable attending events.
“We know now is not the right time to reopen our doors and get back to business as usual,” said David Mitchell, general manager of the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University at Tuscarawas, who initiated the statewide survey.
“Our industry is making decisions in the interest of public health and safety to remain closed for now and we’re working our way through strategies for how and when we move forward. Surveying our audiences will assist us in formulating those strategies.”
Surveys are being distributed via email and social media to existing customers of each venue.
“The first round of surveys we are going to leave open for two weeks, then we’ll resend in August to see if thoughts have changed,” Mitchell said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty in this situation, which is why we are doing the survey. So far nationally, there’s a hesitancy to attend large-scale events.”
Georgia Paxos, executive director of Canton Palace Theatre, said in a statement that “it’s important that we understand how Ohioans and our local audience are reacting.”
In addition to Kent State’s Performing Arts Center in New Philadelphia and the Canton Palace Theatre, the other participating venues, whose seating capacities range from 901 to 2,592, are:
– Akron Civic Theatre
– Clark State Performing Arts Center in Springfield
– Marathon Center for the Performing Arts in Findlay
– Marion Palace Theatre
– The Midland Theater in Newark
– Oberlin College and Conservatory
– Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta
– The Ritz Theatre in Tiffin
– Sandusky State Theatre
– Stocker Arts Center in Elyria
– Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium in Athens
– Valentine Theatre in Toledo
– Van Wert Live at the Niswonger
– The Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center in Lima
Asked why no venues from the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton areas are part of the survey, Mitchell said patrons in smaller communities are different from those in larger cities.
“I do know that some of the bigger cities are participating in national surveys,” he said. “Everybody brings up (large national concert promoters) LiveNation and AEG, not realizing that there are so many smaller venues in rural America that are being impacted just as much if not more than larger venues with larger artists.”