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Abilene Community Theatre reopens months after being shutdown due to pandemic



ABILENE, TX – The stage lights are being turned back on at the Abilene Community Theatre (ACT) for the first time since shutting down in April.

For months, it’s just been Mike Stephens and an empty building.

“We were closed from April through July,” said Vice President of Production Support at the ACTMike Stephens.

Now, for the first time in a long time, the lights are back on.

“It was like Christmas morning turning on all those breakers, because something was getting ready to happen,” said Stephens.

The Abilene Community Theatre brought back their crew and actors in July, practicing for the newest production “Doublewide, Texas.”

Tony Redman, who has been in more than 80 shows at ACT, says he was excited to be back after so much uncertainty in the last couple of months.

“It’s just a part of my life, I figure I’m either going to be in a show or I am going to be seeing a show, and that’s like a big piece that’s gone and it’s like, well, now what do I do?” said Redman.

While the new set brings excitement, it also brings concerns.

“Our cast and crew, we don’t want them to be ill, and the audience, we don’t want them to get sick,” said Stephens.

In order to open under Governor Greg Abbott’s orders, the performance space must be at 50% capacity, but Stephens says they’ll be running at around 35%.

“We’re going to be seating patrons in every other row, and then any groupings of people, there’s going to be at least two seats in between each group,” said Stephens.

Temperatures will be taken at the door and masks will be required until people are seated.

When the show begins though, masks can be taken off, as the theater air is filled with the familiar sounds and sights once again.

The Abilene Community Theatre will also be taking down names of everyone attending the play, that way if someone does get sick, they can give that list to contact tracers who will notify those who need to quarantine.