After long intermission, show goes on at Ridgefield Theater Barn

RIDGEFIELD — The Ridgefield Theater Barn has announced it will welcome back audiences for performances this summer with COVID-19 protocols in place.

Executive Director Pamme Jones closed the Barn to live theater on March 11, 2020, but resumed children’s programming in the fall.

“Because we are a community theater, and everything we have done has been to serve and entertain the community, it feels huge to be able to reopen,” she said.

The children’s program will receive a new outdoor stage and two large tented areas this season. The addition of those spaces will allow actors involved in upcoming productions to make use of the facility’s indoor theater and rehearsal rooms.

The Barn is preparing a series of “COVID-friendly” shows this summer featuring a limited number of cast and crew members, as well as no singing or music. Among those is “An Evening of One-Acts” spotlighting the scripts of local, unpublished playwrights.

“It’s really funny, it’s uplifting, and I think it strikes the right note for what people are looking for,” Jones said. “And when they come in here to see that, they’re going to see a lot of open space.”

Patrons will have their temperatures taken and answer a COVID questionnaire when they arrive. Masks will be required inside the theater at all times unless patrons are eating or drinking at their table. All tables are spaced six feet apart and seating is limited to 32 people — the barn normally seats 72.

“We’re not opening at 100 percent … and we’re requesting that anyone who works with us be vaccinated,” Jones added.

The end of the Barn’s 15-month-long intermission coincides with its plans for a 4,800-square-foot expansion, which could begin as early as this fall, Jones said. The project will tack on a new space to the building’s existing two-story frame and renovate a portion on the back end of the structure.

Upcoming programs

'An Evening of One-Acts': Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.), June 11-July 10, and Sundays at 5 p.m. (doors open at 4 p.m.), June 20 and 27. $140/table (4 seats) or $120/table for seniors (65+), veterans and students. To make a reservation or preview the performances, visit ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/one-acts/.

'Summer Broadway Workshop': The ever-popular summer workshop series is back with the original show "Kids on Broadway," featuring songs from beloved musicals and hilarious original sketches. The workshop, which will take place primarily outdoors, is being offered from July 12-23 and July 26-Aug. 6 for student actors in third through eight grade, as well as rising freshman. Classes meet five days a week from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and early drop-off is available at 9 a.m. All experience levels are welcome; no audition is necessary. Scholarship and financial assistance as well as discounts for registering more than one child are available. For more information or to register, visit ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org.

'The Divas': This compilation of one-act plays by Jack Neary hits the boards Aug. 19-22. Auditions will be held on May 23 and 24.

'Concert for the Community': The now annual event inspired by the incredible success of last year's debut takes place on Aug. 28 in Ballard Park.

The expansion will add a work room to the top floor for set building, create off-stage wings leading into the workshop and yield space for two classrooms and a black box theater for smaller performances on the lower level. An elevator will also be installed in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

“We are so excited to begin the second half of our century in this town (by) providing a bigger space (with) more opportunity for people to take a class (and) express themselves, witness something in development or see an amazing musical on stage,” Jones said. “This building, houses life, houses art, houses love ... and it needs that back in the walls.”

For more information about the Barn’s reopening, visit ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org.

alyssa.seidman@hearstmediact.com