FLORENCE, Ala. — The historic Shoals Theatre in downtown Florence sat dormant for nearly two months as the number of positive COVID-19 cases began to increase.
Theatre leaders followed Florence City Schools’ example and made the decision to close back in March with the health and safety of patrons in mind. General Manager Steve Price said closing the theatre wasn’t an easy decision, but he believed it was for the best.
“We had a school show planned; it was a play, Robin Hood,” said Price. “It was supposed to run in March and when the schools decided they would do away with that, we felt like it wasn’t right for us, so we canceled the play then.”
Following Governor Kay Ivey’s stay-at-home order, the theatre had to remain closed. But now under the amended safer-at-home order, it can reopen, though Price said they’re holding off on scheduling shows for now. The theatre can be rented out for private events, however, organizers must adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Being closed and the cancelation of future shows does create an increased financial need.
“We depend on ticket sales for our concerts and for our plays—for everything that we do,” said Price.
Price said the generosity of the community and corporate sponsors also play a large role. The theatre is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is always accepting donations.
“This is a great venue and it’s just something that needs to be protected and needs to be saved for generations to come,” said Price. “It’s a gem right here in downtown Florence.”
The theatre will begin scheduling shows again in August and leaders are remaining hopeful as shown by the marquee, “Even the darkest hour only has 60 minutes. Be strong. The show will go on.”