Dell’Arte International announced Wednesday that due to the impact of COVID-19 and the cancelations of the school's Mad River Festival, Summer Intensive and other events, it will be operating at a reduced capacity over the summer in an effort to remain financially viable.
In a press release from the school, Managing Director Alyssa Hughlett says, “We hope that by dimming our lights these next few months we’ll be in a stronger position to welcome our students and community back to our studios, stages and all the spaces that have come to signify Dell’Arte.” The release states the school is not ceasing operations entirely and will be offering summer workshops over digital platforms.
Photo by Mark Larson
Performers at the Turning Gray Skies Blue show last June.
The press release also expresses the school's solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement with Hughlett adding, “As an international theatre school that attracts students from around the world, it is in our duty to ensure our actions are aligned with our words. While we take this unforeseen pause, we will continue the work beyond the work — which includes more listening, learning and unlearning.”
Read the full press release here:
BLUE LAKE, CA – In an effort to remain financially viable over an unseasonably quiet Blue Lake summer, Dell’Arte International will be operating at a reduced capacity until the beginning of its school year in October.
“Due to the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on our work as a theatre school and company – including the cancellation of the Mad River Festival, Summer Intensive and other summer events – this is the most responsible action,” says Managing Director Alyssa Hughlett. “We hope that by dimming our lights these next few months we’ll be in a stronger position to welcome our students and community back to our studios, stages and all the spaces that have come to signify Dell’Arte.”
A majority of staff and faculty will be fully or partially furloughed starting next week, with the intention of bringing them back in full. Dell’Arte’s communication channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, newsletters and such, will also be less active during this time.
However, the international school of physical theatre isn’t ceasing operations. There are several summer workshops happening over digital platforms, including Alexander Technique for Actors with Founding Artistic Director Joan Schirle, and Dramatic Structure with Faculty Member Carlos Gallegos.
As one of many theatre organizations standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, Dell’Arte staff and board members will continue reflection and education, collectively and individually, on what it means as a primarily white organization to dismantle white supremacy.
“As an international theatre school that attracts students from around the world, it is in our duty to ensure our actions are aligned with our words,” says Hughlett. “While we take this unforeseen pause, we will continue the work beyond the work – which includes more listening, learning and unlearning.”
After the Shelter in Place order took effect in March, Dell’Arte transitioned from in-person performances to an Online Season, which included offering shows from years past, as well as live and pre-recorded student performances. At the time, donations in lieu of tickets were requested, and the community responded generously.
In response to the current climate of the United States and world, and in action towards a more equitable and just future for all, Dell’Arte is encouraging those who can afford to do so to please commit to supporting the following Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) owned and operated organizations and businesses:
Black Humboldt. Co-founded by Dell’Arte alumna Dionna Fletcher, this organization’s mission is “to enlighten, empower and entertain our Black communities and all people of color in Humboldt County through events made FOR US and BY US.”
Eureka Chapter of the NAACP
ACLU Northern California
Find a more thorough list of people of color-owned-and-operated businesses in Humboldt County here.
Having completed the spring term via distance learning, Dell’Arte hopes to resume in-person classes in October 2020. If public health recommendations preclude holding classes in October, Dell’Arte will delay the start of the school year until it is safe to resume in-person instruction. Any schedule changes will be announced by August 1.
The Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre offers the only accredited MFA in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre in the world. Its training programs attract students from across the globe, with more than 1,000 graduates from 41 countries since the formation of the school in 1975. It is one of three institutions of higher education in Humboldt County, along with Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods.