As the outlook for the resumption of public gatherings remains poor, based on the resurgence of COVID-19 and the unpredictability of the pandemic getting under control, PCPA (Pacific Conservatory Theatre) will delay the opening of its Season 57 to June 2021 with plans to resume live performances in Santa Maria and the Solvang Festival Theater.

Typically, PCPA’s season begins with its holiday show in the fall. The planned postponement of production also implies no Spring 2021 performances in Santa Maria’s Marian and Severson theaters, and the suspension of the two-year conservatory training programs for acting and technical theater until August 2021.

“In spite of our detailed plan for the resumption of on-site work and instruction, as we prioritize the health and safety of each company member, the hypothetical risks of a COVID exposure — its potential health impacts, quarantine requirements and the impact on production and instruction time — creates too much risk and uncertainty,” said Mark Booher, PCPA artistic director.

“We are planning to shift our focus and conserve our resources to try to have ourselves in the strongest position possible for production in summer ‘21,” Boohersaid. “Our plan will be to produce four summer shows, primarily performing in Solvang.”

While consistent with the impacts the pandemic is having on arts institutions across the nation, this difficult decision has no precedent at PCPA, and has myriad ramifications. The health and safety of PCPA’s staff, students and patrons takes precedence for the well-being of the whole community.

“We remain passionate in our desire to return to our studios and stages,” Booher said. “We are using this time to improve our internal working practices and culture, so that as we continue the rich legacy of artistry and excellence for which PCPA is known, we will be a healthier, more equitable, creatively robust contributor to community life and the future of the American theater.”

Although the stages may be dark, PCPA has been active in creating programming with PCPA’s company of artists. The theater’s fall and spring plans will focus even more intently on virtual artistic, enrichment and educational experiences for the community.

This includes the return, via Zoom, of PCPA’s play reading series InterPlay, planned for September and October. More information on InterPlay will be coming in the next few weeks with announcements about the Summer 2021 soon to follow.

For more information about PCPA, including virtual programming offerings, visit PCPA.ORG | BOX OFFICE.