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The Show Must Go On...In July. Idaho Shakespeare Festival Delays Season

Idaho Shakespeare Festival
The Idaho Shakespeare Festival Amphitheater in an undated file photo. Organizers hope to take the stage in early July, 2021.

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival is delaying its upcoming season as it continues to work through how to safely put on live theater amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlie Fee, the Festival’s producing artistic director, broke the news Sunday that they’re pushing pause on their 2021 schedule.

“While this may be a lot easier than last summer season to open, we still have a lot of high hurdles we’re going to have to clear and we’re going to have to clear them together,” Fee said in a video to supporters.

Festival organizers are still negotiating safety protocols with unions representing actors, directors and production staff.

The organization had hoped to start a five-play season starting May 21 with the Shakespeare standard, “Much Ado About Nothing”, but Fee said they may not be back to the open-air amphitheater until July at the earliest. The original season schedule included renditions of "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Henry V," "The Marvelous Wonderettes" and "Sleuth" ending Sept. 26.

Tentative plans right now include cutting audience sizes in half (the amphitheater currently holds 770 guests), increasing cleaning and implementing some type of ticketless entry system, among other health protocols.

“There’s a very high likelihood that we’re going to all need to be masked in the audience itself,” Fee said.

“[Dr. Anthony Fauci] says we should all be masked. That’s good enough for me,” he said in a phone interview with Boise State Public Radio.

On show nights in the past, much of the staff on-site had been volunteers. But Fee said they’ve largely converted those to paid positions.

At this point, any volunteers would be required to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, though he said that could change in the future.

All prior ticket sales will be refundable or can be rescheduled. Fee says the organization will have an updated plan by May 1.

 Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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