I have follow’d it, / Or it hath drawn me rather. But ’tis gone. / No, it begins again.
Shakespeare’s The Tempest begins with a great storm that many characters believe has disrupted their lives forever. There’s a moment where the character Ferdinand, believing he has lost his father to the storm, hears beautiful music. He says: “I have follow’d it, / Or it hath drawn me rather. But ’tis gone. / No, it begins again.”
“It Begins Again” is what we’re titling this new series about reopening our theater in 2021. We’ve been diligently making plans to welcome back our audiences safely amidst Covid -19, and we will continue to respond to new developments throughout the season. This week, our Box Office Team Member, Sarah Byrons, lays out changes you can expect with ticketing this season.
Hi, I’m Sarah Byrons, and I’ve worked in the box office for HVSF for the past 3 seasons. I’m here today to talk you through some of the ways we’re responding to this brave new world of 2021 in the Box Office.
With guidance from NY State as well as theatrical unions, we’ve made a comprehensive plan to keep everyone from the actors to the audience safe this summer.This includes requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to attend performances this year.
The governor recently announced a significant easing of COVID-19 restrictions, however outdoor entertainment operators — like HVSF — still have to maintain social distancing between patrons and follow the official, written guidance from New York State for “Small and Medium Scale Performing Arts & Entertainment”.
The state is currently allowing outdoor performance venues like us to operate at 33% capacity. For us, that means a maximum audience of 178, down from our normal 540.
To maintain distance between groups under the tent, the first thing we’re doing is removing every other row of seats from the audience. We’ve also configured our ticketing system to enforce a space of two seats between each party, keeping everyone at a safe distance from other groups. This auto-distancing function means that when purchasing tickets, you’ll be able to select your seating section and will be assigned the best available seats within that section.
We know that picnicking is an essential part of the HVSF experience for so many people — this year due to capacity constraints on-site we will be asking you when you book your tickets to book a picnic reservation as well. We will do our best to accommodate everyone, but we will have a limited number of picnic circles available for each performance.
HVSF usually makes up half of our annual budget from ticket sales, and so the decreased capacity will require some ticket prices to go up this season. That said, in an effort to insure accessibility, we’re making sure that our most affordable tickets remain as low as $10.
This summer, we’re also switching from an entirely will-call ticketing system to fully electronic ticketing. That means prior to your performance, you’ll receive an email with a link to a PDF ticket. We’ll be equipped with scanners that can read the ticket from your phone, so there’s no need to print your ticket out as long as you can access it from a device on site.
To ensure the safety of our staff, our ticket sales will be fully remote this season. This means that the Box Office Staff will be physically present to welcome audiences at each performance, but won’t be physically present for walk-up sales outside of that. We’ve been working in the downtime to improve the checkout process on our website, and we will have similar Box Office hours as past seasons where our staff will be available via phone or email.
These are just some of the measures we’re putting in place to ensure everyone’s safety this summer. It is going to be a very different experience this year, but we’re implementing these necessary changes to make sure we can safely create theater and welcome you back. We’re looking forward to tickets going on sale on Thursday, May 27! Members receive early access, and with our limited capacity, I urge you to join today to ensure your seat this summer.
Tickets on-sale to Members beginning May 10. Join as a Member for early access.
Festival Circles: Monday, May 10
Saints & Poets: Monday, May 17
Open-Air Flexpass Holders: Monday, May 24
General Public: Thursday, May 27