Entertainment venues and performing arts centers remain closed

Local Coronavirus Coverage

TRI-CITIES (WJHL) – Under Governor Bill Lee’s executive order, entertainment and recreational gathering venues must remain closed for now.

This includes theaters, auditoriums, and performing arts centers.

These types of businesses are taking a huge hit as they navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Tennessee begins to reopen, entertainment businesses are having to remain closed and for performing arts centers, they’re having to reschedule events and find new ways to teach their students.

“The primary way that we’ve been impacted by the shutdown is the majority of our employees are hourly, and so if they don’t work, they don’t get paid,” explains Trinity Arts Center Owner Jamin Rathbun.

Financial and health reasons from COVID-19 have temporarily closed Trinity Arts Center to in-person classes.

“We’ve decided because of that insecurity in both of those areas it’s just probably not a win to try to get back in the studio yet,” said Rathbun.

At some performing arts centers, parents are struggling with tuition for students as those students are missing the class setting.

“If they have paid for the March, April, and May tuition’s then we will offer whatever summer classes that we offer for them to do for free,” said Robin Beals, Owner of Robin Beals’ Dance Productions Royale.

“I’m definitely happy to be back in the studio. It’s so much of a bigger space and I just miss it a lot,” said one of Robins’s students, Londyn Horton.

Most performing arts centers are now teaching their classes online.

“It’s been a little difficult but they are coming along. They are adapting. Some of them like it a little better, some of them say, ‘eh this is not for me,’ but they’re making it happen,” laughed Beals.

Venues are also canceling acts.

Freedom Hall had the following events and activities scheduled through June but had to cancel or reschedule if possible:

  • March 12: Johnson City Schools band concert
  • March 21: CIPA Winterguard Competition
  • March 28: Zach Williams concert
  • April 9: Johnson City School Orchestra/Mark Wood in concert
  • April 12: Fountain of Life Easter Service
  • April 17 : Gary Allen in Concert
  •  April 21-22: PAW PATROL LIVE !
  • May 7: King & Country Tour
  • May 14: Watauga Orthopedic Sports Physicals
  • May 31: Firefighter Benefit Concert  ( Resurrection- A Journey Tribute)
  •  June 5-7/12-14/26-28: Jehovah’s Witness Conventions

TOTAL : 14 events originally scheduled.

Rescheduled events at Freedom Hall are as followed:

  • King and Country Tour moved to June 23, but could be deferred until September
  • PAW PATROL: Moved to August 25
  • Zach Williams concert moved to October 24
  • Gary Allan Concert moved to November 7

The remaining events not listed as being rescheduled were canceled, including the Annual Pepsi Independence Day Celebration on July 4.

All performances at Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville originally scheduled from March through May are postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following statement was sent to News Channel 11 from Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

All currently scheduled upcoming performances are those that were originally scheduled for March – May 2020, and were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our next scheduled performance is Crowder, which has been postponed to July 25th.  If at that time, restrictions remain that would prohibit this performance, we expect to reschedule the performance for a later date.  We have no intent to open for public performances until we are safely able to do so, based on local and state guidelines. 

Our venue has always been thoroughly cleaned before and after performances with hospital grade cleaning and sanitizing supplies and we will continue to do so.  We are adding hand sanitizer stations at entrances as well as distributing individual hand sanitizers.  The safety of our patrons, artists and staff has always been and will remain our top priority. 

Though no one knows how long this unexpected intermission will last, we look forward to the day when we can safely gather and welcome everyone back to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center to experience the joy of live entertainment once again.

Vicki Hudson, Niswonger Performing Arts Center Director

For now, these guidelines from Governor Bill Lee are extended until the end of May.

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