As most of you know, Kudzu was already planning a less busy year. We were taking 2020 to step back, reassess, and get a firm handle on some ongoing challenges so we could return in 2021 and focus on what matters most – enjoying live theatre with all of you. I am happy to share that we have made some headway on one of our biggest challenges. Storage space.
We now have everything safely in storage units. Costumes, props, and set pieces are now free of risk from damage or having to move again until we are ready to do so. While we no longer have warehouse space, we’re not giving up on that goal. At least we don’t have to worry about things flooding now. It’s not an ideal situation and we did have to walk away from many set pieces and supplies, but we are grateful to have been able to keep what we did. We continue to work on securing warehouse space for building and storing large set pieces, more alternatives for rehearsal space, and a variety of performing space options so that we can continue to do all the things we love.
That was what we were going to focus on for the first half of this year, but then Coronavirus hit and the world turned upside down. Like everyone else, we had to quickly shift gears – both individually, and with Kudzu. So, while we have been a little more quiet than usual, I assure you that it is not because we haven’t been busy.
As you know, we are blessed to be able to use some amazing spaces for our rehearsals and shows. However, because they are controlled by someone else, we’ve been waiting until we had guidance from those organizations before we made a decision about how to proceed with our summer plans.
Recently, we received notice from DeSoto County Schools that their facilities will not be available for use until the administration is certain they can be safe for students. For us, this primarily means the HPAC. It is absolutely the right decision and we wholeheartedly agree and support the school administrators. The Board and I discussed finding alternative locations for our summer camps and Matilda, but ultimately we decided the best thing is to reschedule all of them.
Basically, we’re going to cut and paste this summer into next summer. Pending confirmation of dates and facilities, we plan to host the same summer camps next year and stage Matilda in its full glory, next July, with the same cast and crew. We have already told all the camp counselors and staff that they are assured of their positions if they want them. The same goes for campers. Anyone who is already registered for this year’s camps will automatically be rolled over to next year. Campers will have the option to change camps, if they so choose, or stay in the camp they are in now, regardless of if they would have aged out this year. As another option, if you are registered for a camp and would like to transfer your registration to our fall STARS semester, we would be happy to do that for you, too. Please feel free to email us with any questions or if you would like to discuss other arrangements.
Currently, we are not making any changes to our plans for Moana JR in the fall. However, we will continue to follow guidance from state and local officials and adjust, if necessary. Our top priority is, and always will be, providing a safe, welcoming, and fun environment. Like Broadway, the Orpheum, and many other theatres, we believe we have made the wisest decision in these uncertain times.
While we are choosing to follow safe distancing measures right now, we have been working on several different ideas and I hope you will get involved.
If you’re familiar with the works of Lauren Gunderson, I am thrilled to share that Kudzu will be presenting her play, THE REVOLUTIONISTS, as a streaming event on Saturday, June 13 at 7 PM. Joe Ranager is directing an outstanding cast that features Emily Chateau, Ella Embry, Bri Patton, and Ashley Hawkins. We had a lot of fun during a virtual rehearsal recently when Lauren Gunderson dialed in, met the cast, shared some of her thoughts about the play, and was gracious enough to answer questions from the group. I can’t wait for you to see this fantastic show. We’ll have more information on our Facebook page and website soon, but mark your calendar for June 13.
We’re also working on some other ideas with several of the many talented actors, actresses, and production team members who have graced our stage over the years. I encourage you to keep your eyes on our social media channels and website as we start rolling out some of those ideas. In the middle of all this uncertainty, we hope to bring some light, some fun, and especially some love, but still be easy on your wallet.
As I say all the time, Kudzu is proud to be a small community theatre. However, who we really are is all of you. You are the beating heart of everything we do — and we miss you, terribly. Maybe that sounds cliché, but it’s true. While this year was going to be quieter for Kudzu, we never expected it to be quite this quiet. We cannot wait until the time when we can all be safely back in one, large, boisterous family to enjoy and celebrate and perform together. Until then, please stay safe and stay healthy, and thanks so much for your continued support of Kudzu Playhouse.
All the Best,
Joi Taylor, Executive Director
Kudzu Playhouse was founded in 1983. Our mission is to bring performing arts to the community by showcasing talented actors and actresses of all ages in an accessible, open, and encouraging environment, while also nurturing and developing young future performers, regardless of gender, race, religious beliefs, or socio-economic background. We believe that theatre should not only be fun, educational, and accessible but also reflect the demographics of our community without discrimination. For more information about our programs and how you can get involved, visit our website at www.kudzuplayers.com.