Live Theaters Face Uphill Battle Despite Welcoming Back Audiences

MOXIE Theatre welcomes a live audience for the first time in 18 months.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The paint on the set dried. The props were in position. The new air filters were installed, and hand sanitizer stations were mounted all around the lobby.

Such is the life of opening night at MOXIE Theatre in San Diego’s Rolando community.

“This is the set for our first live production back: ‘The Mineola Twins’ by Paula Vogel,” said a giddy Jennifer Eve Thorn. “Which is a comedy about twin sisters who are played by one actor. That sounds impossible, but you have to come and see it happen.”

Thorn is MOXIE Theatre’s Executive Artistic Director. She said it was hard closing the theater last March.

“I think it was devastating for a lot of people,” she sighed. “A lot of us tried to pivot to virtual but it left so many of the artists that we work with behind.”

“The MOXIE staff and I learned to do a ridiculous number of new things,” Thorn said, while managing to smile.

She said they performed a few productions via Zoom. They also found revenue producing virtual graduations, fundraisers, and memorial services.

“That kept money coming in,” she said.

Thorn said MOXIE Theatre specializes in showcasing and performing the work of women playwrights.

“We’re proud to serve in that niche," she said.

That niche returns in October for the MOXIE.

“There’s a lot of excitement about ‘We’re reopening! We’re back!’ but theaters are struggling,” Thorn said. “We’re paying more than we’ve ever paid before to make art and we have less audiences, less support.”

She said lumber and supplies are far more expensive than ever before. They also spent thousands upgrading their theater to meet the demands of an audience during an era of COVID-19.

“Artists are still struggling and we’re going to be feeling this impact for a couple years.”

However, Thorn admitted she was relieved to finally be headed in the right direction.

“We made it. We did it. If we can do this, we can do anything,' she said.

“The Mineola Twins” will be at MOXIE Theatre through October 24th.

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