Getting Back in the Grove


June 4, 2021

Over the course of the next two months, we will be rolling out a series of blog posts about what to expect when you return to The Grove for live performances this summer.  The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the theatre industry, and even though we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we planned our 2021 season with the idea that significant changes to our operations would be required.  These changes included limiting capacity, enforcing mask wearing, eliminating general seating, and strict controls on food and beverages at the theatre, among others.  While some of these protocols were created by us, others are required by the professional unions with which we work: Actors’ Equity Association, the Stage Directors’ and Choreographers’ Society, and United Scenic Artists.  Putting together a comprehensive plan that will protect you and our company members has absorbed the majority of our time since we began planning in October.

Since last Autumn, however, we have seen the rollout of three vaccines for COVID-19, all of which have exceeded expectations.  As of this writing, Santa Cruz county has dropped into the State of California’s “yellow tier” with a .5% positivity rate and only 1.4 new COVID-19 cases per 100k residents, and Governor Newsom has announced plans to lift the bulk of restrictions on June 15th, including restrictions on capacity and social distancing.  At the same time, outbreaks continue across the globe, and the likelihood of reaching herd immunity here in the States seems unlikely.  In brief, we are wrestling with a lot of contradictory and rapidly changing data, so we ask for your patience as we continue to hone our protocols.  We are working hard to offer you the proper balance of enjoyment and safety.

You can expect, however, that we will be erring on the side of caution this summer.  We planned for a socially distant season with limited capacity and we can continue to offer those things with minimal financial risk.  More, maintaining distancing protocols increases the likelihood that we will be able to allow other perks like picnicking in The Grove…a quintessential part of your Santa Cruz Shakespeare experience. For those of you who would like to see a return to business as usual, we ask for your patience and your indulgence.  We are hopeful that things will be back to normal in 2022.  And for those of you who are still concerned about COVID and gathering outdoors, all of our productions will be available to stream in the safety of your home this summer.

As we settle on the specific rules for admittance to The Grove in 2021, we will keep you posted via this blog and our email newsletters, so stay tuned.  In the meanwhile, please stay safe and healthy so that we can welcome you back to The Grove where we will share some incredible stories together.

Mike Ryan

Artistic Director

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