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SLO Repertory Theatre reopens with holiday production after fall closure

slo rep play
Ryan C. Loyd

The San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre, SLO Rep, is reopening this December after closing for a second time due to COVID-19.

SLO Rep closed for the first time when the pandemic hit in March of 2020. The theatre eventually reopened this last summer with ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [abridged.]’

“It was a great production, had six weeks of amazing audiences and then the Delta variant came up and our audience numbers went down by about 75 percent overnight,” said SLO Rep Managing Artistic Director Kevin Harris.

He said due to ticket sales and safety concerns, SLO Rep shut productions down again during the fall.

This December, the theatre is reopening with a holiday performance of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life - A Live Radio Play.’ Harris said they’re excited to reopen but it’s not without hesitation.

“We’re still up in the air about how willing our audiences are to come back,” Harris said.

He said it can cost thousands of dollars to put on a production and SLO Rep didn’t want to take any economic risks in reopening.

Harris said their annual budget has decreased by over 70 percent since the pandemic hit, so the December performance is a bit easier to produce and requires a smaller cast.

He said, having gone through the rollercoaster of the pandemic, the theatre feels prepared to safely reopen.

“We’re very comfortable about our vaccine protocols," Harris said. "Everyone in SLO Rep is fully vaccinated and everyone on cast and crew will have vaccine requirements.”

Patrons will also be required to show proof of vaccination. If a patron is exempt from the vaccine, they will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to entering the building.

Harris said SLO Rep is looking forward to welcoming an audience in whatever capacity.

“We’re only doing it for six performances in December and if only 20 people show up, we’ll be so happy to see those 20 people every night," Harris said. "If more, it’s gonna be just so wonderful to get some life back in the building, for sure.”

'It’s a Wonderful Life - A Live Radio Play' will run December 10-18. Tickets go on sale Thursday, November 11.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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