Yakima’s ‘Warehouse Theatre Company': The Show Must Go On!
As Yakima's community theatre, The Warehouse Theatre Company has enjoyed a well-earned reputation for professional-quality musicals, comedies and dramatic performances for nearly seven decades. In spite of recent challenges faced as a result of COVID-19, the theatre group remains strong and hopeful.
Right now, like all other arts organizations across the country, The Warehouse Theatre building, on South 24th Avenue in Yakima, stands empty. At the time the building closed for business, WTC cast and crew were in rehearsals for the spring production of Roald Dahl's ‘Matilda the Musical’ and preparing to announce the 2020-2021 season. Unlike many theatres across the country, Warehouse Theatre Company was fortunate in that they were in the early rehearsal process and didn't have to cancel immediate performances, tear down built sets, or hang costumes back up.
Much like everyone else, they are waiting for information from the state regarding when they will be able to host audiences again. Stephen Clark, the WTC Board President says: “I'm cautiously optimistic that we will be able to open 'Matilda' on the rescheduled date of July 31. We are continuing plans on how our 2020-2021 season will look and what productions audiences can expect. “
This virus-caused postponement will naturally affect the 2020-2021 schedule. ‘Matilda’ is now scheduled to replace the previously scheduled season-opening summer musical, as they simply can’t fit two musicals on the stage this summer. As a result, they are producing one show fewer than usual, and the new season will now begin in the fall.
The cost of losing that show will mean a loss of between $15,000 to $20,000 net revenue. Thanks to the support of their loyal patrons, WTC can take that blow and continue to thrive. While many theatres are finding it difficult to even stay open, Clark wants the community to know that “the combination of generosity with WTC’s sound financial stewardship will help us weather this storm”.
During this 'hiatus', Warehouse Theatre Company is still able to engage their audiences through social media and digital platforms. Stephen Clark says, “We are rolling out a few digital series on our Facebook page and YouTube channel”.
Audiences have enjoyed seeing familiar faces from the stage performing musical theatre selections in The Living Room Concerts posted daily at 10:00 am. The second series, Story Time, allows audiences of all ages to enjoy a daily bedtime story reading. Featuring a new host every week, Story Time posts Monday-Friday at 7:00 pm. “We are also planning additional series and specials to premiere in the coming weeks. Our mission is to engage, enrich, and encourage our community through the performing arts. We plan to continue to do that whether we are on stage or screen” Clark said.