Krannert Center for the Performing Arts closed to public, open to students this fall

The+entrance+to+the+Krannert+Center+for+the+Performing+Arts+on+March+13%2C+2019.+the+Krannert+Art+Museum+opened+a+new+exhibit+on+Nov.+5+entitled+%E2%80%9CBea+Nettles%3A+Harvest+of+Memory

Mark Capapas

The entrance to the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on March 13, 2019. the Krannert Art Museum opened a new exhibit on Nov. 5 entitled “Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory

By Aliza Majid, Staff Writer

The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts will be closed to the public for the duration of the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance will use the spaces for academic use instead while abiding by safety guidelines.

The facility will only open to i-card holders and will enforce strict safety protocols to ensure that social distancing, mask  wearing and sanitizing will be taken seriously during the semester. The center will focus on aiding its academic setting this semester due to the live performance cancellation.

“Due to the limitations for the reopening plan, we felt like it was particularly important this season to yield to the academic conditions and cancel the live in person performances to allow us to use our theater spaces for academic classes that would serve students,” said Bridget Lee-Calfas, advertising and publicity director at KCPA.

The center has been working with the College of FAA in order to help structure the academic dynamic throughout the semester in terms of how the facility will be used. 

The theatre department in particular had already been planning the semester before the KCPA officially announced the cancellation of their season. 

“Our approach was to move things online that we felt confident we could do as well as possible online, and then to figure out which things were going to be altered in our face-to-face teaching so we could do it safely,” said Gabriel Solis, head of the theatre department.

For the limited amount of classes that are face to face, the department will be enforcing safety protocols to eliminate risk of transmission.

“So that includes smaller class sizes, universal mask wearing, distance between people, and limits on the amount of time people spend in buildings,” Solis said. “Some really important upgrades to the ventilation systems in the spaces that we use for teaching and learning will also help, so we are reasonably confident that we’ve reduced the risk of transmission from contact.”

In order to adapt to the changes, the department has observed what major professional theaters have done in response to the pandemic and followed in their lead.

“A lot of the major professional theaters have been screening things through their streaming services that respond to the requirements for social distancing, so Zoom productions, for instance, will be an option, and we’re going to try producing things as safely as we can,” Solis said.

Students in the College of FAA have responded well to the changes and are planning to return to campus to continue their studies for the semester.

“All my professors in the theatre department have been pretty flexible about communications and are encouraging us to reach out to see if we feel uncomfortable with being in person because in my faculty in particular, we have been very communicative,” said Grecia Bahena, sophomore in FAA.

The KCPA will continue to focus on improving the academic integrity of its facility for the upcoming semester and for campus protocols to be enforced in order to provide a safe environment.

“The primary objective is to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. So the classes in theatre, music and dance will be taking place within the center. And we’ll be doing everything we can to follow the guidelines, keep the building sanitized (and) enforce policies and campus procedures this year,” Lee-Calfas said.

[email protected]