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Dear Conservatory of Performing Arts and the University Community,

As a leader in arts and entertainment programing, the Pittsburgh Playhouse is dedicated to excellence in all that we do. Point Park University has built one of the finest performing arts conservatories in the nation, and our students, faculty, staff and audiences have come to expect the highest level of professionalism — both in process and product.

As mentioned in my last update, the current COVID-19 crisis poses challenges for theatres and for all entertainment organizations: Commercial theatres and dance companies (e.g. Broadway, Off-Broadway, national tours) have temporarily closed, and most professional regional theatres and dance companies have either delayed their fall production seasons or suspended their activities for the near-term. Additionally, some academic performance programs have chosen to cancel their 2020-21 production seasons, while others continue to weigh their options.

We announced our 2020-21 performance season in the spring -- which included student input -- with great optimism and hope. Since that time, we have been preparing for a robust/aspirational season of plays, musicals and dance events. Throughout this preparatory process, we have repeatedly recognized the need to be vigilant and responsive to the ever-evolving COVID-19 environment (our season announcement season announcement begins with this acknowledgment). The Pittsburgh Playhouse has continued to prepare flexible plans ready to be implemented and/or adjusted based on new insights and advances as they arise.

Due to the most recent spike in the COVID-19 data — both regionally and nationally — the Pittsburgh Playhouse is now poised to make adjustments to our 2020-21 season. These adjustments will ensure the safest possible production environment while preserving performance/production opportunities and continuing to serve our students academically and artistically. 

Of course, the health and safety of our students is the top priority in our decision-making processes, but we also recognize that we must not sacrifice our artistic reputation nor can we undermine the world-class training that is the signature of the Conservatory of the Performing Arts at Point Park University. With this in mind, the Pittsburgh Playhouse, in collaboration with COPA, is taking the following steps for our 2020-21 production season:

  • We will delay the opening of our scheduled season until January 2021 (specific dates forthcoming). This “pause” in our live production calendar is in alignment with many regional theatres and with our Broadway and Off-Broadway colleagues. We will continue to assess this January postponement throughout the fall term and adjust if necessary.
  • Our Media Innovators Speaker Series is currently under review, and we will be releasing more information about this prestigious series soon.
  • For the fall semester, the Pittsburgh Playhouse/COPA will create a robust series of live-streaming and digital broadcast events that will offer our students safe performance and production opportunities.
  • We will engage our students in safe projects that will challenge them creatively, broaden their skill sets and prepare them for the ever-changing performance/production environment.
  • The Pittsburgh Playhouse will partner with various theatres, production companies and technical professionals to ensure that our digital events will be of the highest quality, showcase our students’ talents and ensure distribution to the widest possible audiences.

Throughout its storied history, the Pittsburgh Playhouse has built a reputation as a leader and an innovator. This fall, the Pittsburgh Playhouse will take a new leadership role in creating and disseminating digital dance and theatre events. We spearhead this initiative in support of our students. Soon, we will begin announcing some of our fall digital productions. Over the next several weeks, as we continue planning for the fall term, we will add to and enhance our production schedule. Stay tuned for more information.

Finally, the Pittsburgh Playhouse is a one of the nation’s premiere artistic laboratories and a regional center where audiences gather and engage in the highest quality arts and entertainment. This fall, we will certainly miss coming together to share and celebrate the arts. Our lobbies may be empty, but our creative spirit will be as rich and full as ever. Importantly, our students will continue to learn, to grow and to share their work. Our goal at the Pittsburgh Playhouse is to continue supporting our students’ artistic drive while crafting a safe and secure environment. By modifying our fall production season, we will meet this goal, and the Pittsburgh Playhouse/COPA will continue to be a center of excellence in Pittsburgh and across the country.

My best,

Steven Breese
Artistic Director / Dean