For the first summer in more than 70 years, there will be no performances at the Highfield Theatre.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College Light Opera Company cancelled its 2020 summer season.
“The health and safety of CLOC’s staff, students and patrons are our highest priority,” said Leslie M. Wrigley, president of CLOC’s board of directors. “Given the residential nature of our training program and the obvious limitations of asking our patrons to attend performances en masse, we sadly conclude that cancelling the season is the only responsible choice.”
Mark A. Pearson, executive and artistic director for CLOC, said the company has postponed its 52nd season to summer 2021. The season will include nine shows, including “Kiss Me Kate,” “Orpheus in the Underworld” and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”
“We’ve basically done the same thing for our students,” Mr. Pearson said. “They have been accepted into this program for its 52nd season, so they will be accepted next summer. If they’re a tenor in this year’s company, they’ll be offered a tenor contract for next year’s company.”
As CLOC postponed the opening of its box office, the company did not sell tickets and does not have to go through the refund process. However, Mr. Pearson said approximately 50 percent of tickets go to season subscribers who attend all nine shows. All 2019 season ticket holders will be guaranteed their seats in 2021.
Though the productions at Highfield Theatre are cancelled this year, CLOC will continue digitally. CLOC is working to develop a virtual curriculum of workshops, masterclasses and performances, as well as host its “Off the CLOC” and “On the CLOC” lecture series online. CLOC will post a schedule of its digital events online at www.collegelightoperacompany.com.
“While we are heartbroken at this turn of events, the health and safety of all is our first responsibility,” said Beth Burrier, associate artistic director with CLOC. “The CLOC family is excited to create new and innovative ways to further our mission as a training ground for young artists during this crisis, and we hope you will be able to watch our outstanding 2020 company through Virtual CLOC.”
Mr. Pearson said these digital events and lectures will be free.
“It is a good opportunity for us, and a lot of other art organizations, to enhance our digital offerings,” he said.
There is the possibility of some live events this summer. CLOC will continue its partnership with the Falmouth Library. If it is safe to do so, the company will host a version of its annual Independence Day concert of the library lawn.
“If t is possible and we can do it safely, we are hoping to have some kind of event,” Mr. Pearson said. “It is important for art organizations to provide some normalcy during this time.”
In addition, the “2nd Stage” concert series, a partnership with the West Falmouth Library, will continue as a virtual series.