BERKELEY, CALIF.: Aurora Theatre Company has announced the decision to shift its 2020-21 season focus to a membership program, with online offerings replacing live productions until it is safe to return to in-person performances.
“Aurora announced our 2020-21 season early in the shelter-in-place,” said artistic director Josh Costello in a statement, “when we still believed we’d be back to normal in a few short weeks. Clearly that is no longer the case—we will never go back to the normal that existed before, and it will be a long time before we can gather together again in a new and better normal that we’re collectively building for the future.”
The company has commissioned local playwrights Lauren Gunderson, Cleavon Smith, and Jonathan Spector to collaborate on a new audio drama set in Berkeley, with a story around a theme imagining the post-COVID-19 world. Aurora will also continue to develop new plays, including Brit Frazier and Margo Hall’s Laveau, and strengthen its community partnerships. Tickets to the new audio drama and access to other virtual offerings such as a Zoom reading of a play in development and monthly interactive webinars and book clubs will be included as benefits within Aurora’s new membership model—a departure from traditional subscriptions.
“Memberships are a way for our audience to participate in the wide varieety of programming we’re putting together to share online during the coming season,” said Costello in a statement. “If we’re able to reopen for live performances in our space before July 2021, memberships will include tickets to all those performances. Otherwise, our members will still be able to be a part of the Aurora community and enjoy meaningful work from wonderful Bay Area artists.”