Franklin Stage cancels 2020 season

ContributedChapel Hall is home to Franklin Stage Company.

Franklin Stage Company has announced it will not hold its 24th season of shows at Chapel Hall in 2020, because of concerns about COVID-19.

"It is with a heavy heart that we announce we are canceling our 2020 season," co-Artistic Director Patricia Buckley said in a media release, "but in following the guidance of local and state authorities, our artists unions, and feedback from our audience, we feel this is the only safe choice at this point."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the "New York State on PAUSE" executive order, a 10-point policy to ensure uniform safety, on Sunday, March 22, and since then all but essential businesses have been closed. The phased reopening began May 15, but Franklin Stage Company's programming fits into Phase 4 (Arts/Entertainment/Recreation) of the proposed reopening, which will not go into effect until at least July.

"In order to do whatever we can to keep FSC moving forward, even in this time, we plan to implement and complete some long-needed restoration projects," co-Artistic Director Leslie Noble said in the release.

"Chapel Hall is not just our historic home, but also an architectural gem," Buckley said. "We plan to use the time to continue to care for the building, which is also part of our mission."

The Franklin Stage Company also plans to develop an art exhibit about the historic evolution of Chapel Hall from its beginnings in 1855 as part of the Delaware Literary Institute to its function today as the home of the theater company, the release said. FSC will continue to host the Franklin Farmers' Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, although customers will be encouraged to purchase food to take with them, rather than stay and visit.

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