Dad's Garage Theater In Atlanta Postpones Major Fundraiser Over Coronavirus Concerns
Dad's Garage Improv Theatre's annual fundraiser carnival is one of many events across the state being rescheduled because of coronavirus concerns and the desire to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Managing Director Lara Smith said ticket sales for the theatre's annual Big Stupid Parking Lot Carnival had slowed to a tenth of what they would normally be at this time of year. She felt lucky that Dad's Garage was financially stable enough to float the theatre until they were able to reschedule, a position other theatre companies around the state may not be in.
"We're in a really unique position because we're financially strong enough to be able to make this decision," Smith said. "I think if we didn't have sort of the cash flow and diversity of revenue, we'd be in a position where we would try to make it happen."
The event has tentatively been rescheduled for Aug 8.
- Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade, Festival Postponed
- Georgians Reevalute Cruise Vacation Plans As Coronavirus Outbreak Continues
- Emory University Becomes First In Georgia To Use Remote Learning To Stem COVID-19 Spread
Board chair Derin Dickerson has seen how worries around coronavirus have disrupted Georgia's arts community.
"Organizations have to really be smart and make sure that they're making the best decisions for their customers, their employees," Dickerson said. "We're seeing widespread disruption across this industry, and people are really uncertain about what the future holds with respect to this virus."
Smith said that while worries about coronavirus are valid, the theatre is taking each day as it comes and trying to not give into panic.
"We don't believe people should be overly fearful about this, but we certainly want to make sure that we're taking all the proper protocols," she said. "People need to be cautious and practice good hygiene as the CDC and others have suggested and recommended."
The theatre has begun new cleaning procedures and plans to continue hosting shows as usual, albeit cautiously.
"There's no reason that we can't continue gathering," Smith said. "We're obviously going to up our cleaning protocol, make sure that we're keeping our patrons, our performers, our volunteers, everyone's safe."
In spite of this, Dickerson is still surprised at how fast coronavirus changed how the theatre is going about their day-to-day business.
"I was actually a little surprised that it impacted ticket sales so quickly," Dickerson said. "You know, even last week people weren't talking about this nearly as much as they are today."
Postmodern Jukebox, a popular retro-themed music cover band, cancelled a U.S. tour that included an April 2 appearance at the Atlanta Symphony Hall citing the "substantial threat" of the virus.
Organizers associated with the alternative music festival Shaky Knees, which is scheduled to take place in Central Park in Atlanta May 1-3, declined to comment about the future of the festival. Texas music festival SXSW was canceled earlier this month.
Dragon Con, Atlanta's yearly pop culture convention that takes place in early September, typically draws tens of thousands of people to the downtown area and regularly sells out its major hotels.
Dan Carroll, a media representative for the event, said conversations are ongoing about the convention's plan going forward.
"The safety of Dragon Con attendees is always out first priority. We are internally discussing the best approach," Carroll said. "Dragon Con is keeping lines of communication open with our host hotels to ensure our attendees are safe.
The St. Patrick's Day parade and festival in Savannah was postponed Wednesday by Mayor Van Johnson.
Artists across the state may come to find inspiration from the crisis, but not now, Smith said.
"I think there's too much anxiety right now to see through it," she said, "It's too soon."