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Go Ask Mom

Family shows are scheduled to go on in Raleigh this month -- with some extra hand sanitizer, caution

Posted March 11, 2020 1:15 p.m. EDT
Updated March 11, 2020 2:46 p.m. EDT

Duke Energy Center photo

— The family shows will go on at both Raleigh Little Theatre and Theatre Raleigh this month — but with some extra hand washing and hand sanitizer to help guard against spreading the coronavirus.

While some organizations, including the N.C. Museum of Art and the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, are canceling or postponing events that draw crowds, on Wednesday, both theater groups sent out emails to their mailing lists to detail their plans to move forward. Their shows also draw much smaller crowds than those that attend the museum events.

"We are communicating regularly with staff, crew, and performers—and we all feel a strong a conviction to that classic theatre adage—the show must go on," wrote Lauren Kennedy Brady, Theatre Raleigh's producing artistic director.

Theatre Raleigh will open "Bud, Not Buddy," Friday, March 13, at the small Kennedy Theater at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. The show, based on the book of the same name about a 10-year-old boy who wants to find his father, runs on select days through March 29. It's best for ages 9 and up.

Raleigh Little Theatre will open "The Jungle Book," based on the classic adventure story about Mowgli, on March 20. The show runs on select days through April 5 at the theater's Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre near Raleigh's Cameron Village.

On Tuesday, state officials asked groups that sponsor large events to encourage those in high-risk groups, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions, not to attend and to provide "lenient" refund policies. Healthy children, health experts say, however, are not as vulnerable to the illness and are less likely to experience serious complications. "People have to make their own decisions," Gov. Roy Cooper said during a press conference. "We're making no recommendations about canceling anything. We're just talking to the public at large, the steps that we want to take at a mass gathering."

Brady of Theatre Raleigh shared that the group is taking precautions to protect patrons from the coronavirus, along with the common cold and flu. Hand sanitizer will be available and high-touch areas, including doors and railings, are being disinfected before and after each performance.

"In addition, we are monitoring the situation daily and will continue to take the recommended steps laid out by the Centers for Disease Control," she wrote. "We encourage our patrons to use simple, everyday actions that protect us all from respiratory viruses, including frequent hand washing and properly covering every cough or sneeze. If you are sick or a member of a vulnerable population, we recommend that you stay home. We are happy to exchange your ticket for another showing."

Raleigh Little Theatre is taking similar steps.

"Hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed all throughout the theater, in addition to soap that has always been available in every bathroom," Patrick Torres, RLT's artistic director, wrote in the email. "We are increasing the scope of our daily professional cleanings with additional sanitizing of handrails, door handles, surfaces, etc."

All of RLT's education classes and camps also will begin with mandatory hand washing or use of hand sanitizer. And staff and teaching artists have been trained to encourage smiles and jazz hands as a form of greeting instead of handshakes, high fives and hugs, he wrote.

"As a city-owned building, we are in direct and frequent communication with the City of Raleigh so that we can stay informed and respond quickly to any new guidelines. We are following their guidance regarding how to proceed with our programming," he wrote. "As of now, we feel it is safe to continue with all currently scheduled shows, events, and classes. If anything changes, we will promptly provide clear updates on our website and through email communications."