Frequently Asked Questions
June 12, 2020
The Whidbey Playhouse Board of Directors, Committee Chairs and Office Staff have been working hard, behind the scenes, to ensure that the Playhouse will be ready to open its doors to the public when the time is right. This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is our COVID Edition and is intended to keep our members, volunteers, patrons and community informed. The topics are based on questions and concerns that have been shared with office staff over the last few weeks. Please forward your questions/concerns to: WPHBoard@whidbeyplayhouse.com
Why has the 2020-2021 Season been shortened when I read about other theaters and venues planning events in the Fall?
Shortening the 2020-2021 season was a difficult and well thought through decision made by the WPH Board with input and research from our Production Oversight Chair, Sue Riney. As the Board looked to the next season, many factors were considered in the decision making process. These included and were not limited to:
The safety and health of our volunteers, staff and patrons. Consideration was given to the need to constantly maintain a sanitizing/cleaning regiment; requiring social distancing and masks to name a few measures. Social distancing would also require us to limit the number of seats available for each show, which would have negatively impacted the Playhouse financially.
We had already had to cancel a show (Musical Comedy Murders of 1940) where the production was set to open. This meant expenses related to the production had already been spent (set-building, costumes etc.) without income to offset the expenses. We wanted to avoid putting the Playhouse and a different production crew in that position again.
Not knowing when we would be able to officially re-open and gather in groups larger than 100 people. For a production to open in September auditions and rehearsals would have to start in July at the latest.
The unknown regarding ticket sales and the willingness of the public to resume normal activities such as attending movies, sporting events and the theater. The Stay Home, Stay Healthy survey the Playhouse conducted was sent to 1,116 individuals and we received 93 responses. While the majority of the responses indicated they would frequent the Whidbey Playhouse when we opened, we were not confident that the numbers would fully support the financial risk of a full season.
While other Theaters had indicated they were moving forward with their summer and/or fall productions, many of them have reconsidered those decisions.
How come the Playhouse is not participating in Haunted Fort Casey this year?
Our decision was based on input from Haunted Fort Casey Playhouse volunteers; the business interruptions caused by COVID-19; the potential strain on our financial resources; and not knowing if the event could be held. We shared with the organizers that we would hope to participate in future events.
What is the current financial position of the Whidbey Playhouse, and how will the cancellation of the last two shows and delay in starting the 2020-2021 Season impact the Playhouse’s finances?
Maintaining a strong, fiscally healthy community theater is the WPH Board’s top priority. When the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order was made, the board began to look for ways to reduce expenses because of the lost revenue from the last two shows of the 2019-2020. Utility expenses were reviewed and adjusted; refunds for the cancelled shows are in process and we also reduced staff hours.
Reducing staff hours was a difficult and necessary business decision. The Whidbey Playhouse is not considered an essential business, therefore we could not remain open during the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. To be clear, the WPH Board DID NOT layoff or let go any paid staff. Hours were reduced so they could apply for unemployment and possibly be eligible for the additional unemployment COVID relief.
Over the last several years the previous and current WPH Boards have done an excellent job at maintaining operational reserves and being fiscally responsible with the Playhouse’s finances. While the reduction in income due to the end of season show cancellations and the delayed start of the next season have an impact, the Playhouse will be able to survive and move forward based on the measures the WPH Board has taken. A full financial report will be shared at the upcoming annual meeting.
What options do I have to attend a board meeting when we cannot gather and meet in person?
Prior to Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, issued in March, 2020, the Whidbey Playhouse Board of Directors, Production Oversight Chair, Facilities Chair, Volunteer/Membership Chair, Marketing Manager and Office Manager met once a month and those meetings were included on the Playhouse calendar and held at the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce. These meetings have always been open to our volunteers and members to attend.
This same group has since held two Board meetings using Zoom, one in April and one in May. As we were navigating through a new normal we failed to provide information on how to attend these meetings. Going forward and until we can meet in person the dates of the monthly Board meetings will be posted on the WPH website and will include instructions on how to sign-up to attend so the Zoom information can provided. The next meeting is scheduled for June 14, 2020 at 6:00PM. The information has already been posted on the Playhouse’s website.
When will the annual meeting and Board elections be held?
The annual meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 26th at 3:00PM, assuming Island County will be in the appropriate phase to allow us to gather in-person. An email communication was sent to all members and follow-up calls were completed by the WPH Board and staff recommending this change. The recommendation was well received and appreciated. At the annual meeting a “state of the Playhouse” will be given by President Allenda Jenkins. Financial reports will be shared by Treasurer Jaime Montoya. Nominations from the floor and elections will be held. The current WPH Board will remain in their positions until the elections have been completed at the meeting. More information will be coming soon and will be shared on the WPH website.
Will we see additional changes to the Whidbey Playhouse as a result of COVID-19?
COVID-19 has provided us with a rare gift of time to explore many great ideas that have been presented to the WPH Board, Chairs and Staff. We are working on various online activities to help keep our members engaged including recorded play readings; Quarentalent video clips and more that will be on our Facebook page.
We are also working on enhancing membership benefits and we hope to share updates at the annual meeting.
Since COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the Would Be Players and other educational activities, what is the plan to fill that gap?
In addition to what was shared in the above item, our Would Be Players teachers are currently working on virtual theater education topics for youth. More information to come as plans are finalized. Continue to monitor the Playhouse’s Facebook page and website for updates.
Important Update from the WPH Board of Directors
May 26, 2020
Thank you for your continued support of the Whidbey Playhouse, especially during the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” mandate from the Governor. As you know we had to cancel the rest of the 2019-2020 season which meant our wonderful actors, directors, set-builders and other production volunteers were not able to bring to the stage, “Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” and “Clue: The Musical”.
While the Playhouse has been closed to the public, the board of directors along with the committee chairs, our temporary Office Manager and Marketing Manager, have been working on plans for the 2020-2021 season; virtual educational opportunities for our youth and adults; addressing fiscal challenges related to the canceling of the remainder of the 2019-2020 season and much more.
Today, May 23, 2020 it was announced that Island County is in Phase 2 of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” mandate and while that allows for some businesses to reopen, the Playhouse will remain closed to the public. When the board of directors, committee chairs and staff believe it is safe to open and we can follow all sanitization and social distancing guidelines, we will do so. Until then we wanted to provide you with an update regarding the 2020-2021 season and season ticket sales.
The next season will start in January, 2021. The decision was made to shorten the season for the following reasons:
The uncertainty of when the Playhouse could fully open to the public.
When we can open, would we be required to limit our capacity in the theater, thus negatively impacting revenue from the productions while the expense for each production would remain the same.
Would the public feel safe in attending a production at the Playhouse even if we advertise the sanitization and social distancing protocols we would be following?
Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball and while we can hope that everyone would support the Playhouse and attend all of the shows, the reality is we just don’t know. Especially as we hear about other events in Western Washington being cancelled that were due to be held in September and October.
We have three shows for the next season and we are awaiting approval of the royalty rights before we announce the season. This has been a challenge primarily because our partners are on limited work schedules as well.
Season Ticket Sales for the 2020-2021 Season
Once we receive approval for the shows and dates for the 2020-2021 season, we will open up the sales for season tickets, following the same protocols as we have done in the past. We will be reducing the season ticket package price and updating the discount code for our 2019-2020 season ticket holders due to the cancellation of the final two shows of the season.
Again we thank you for your continued support and know that we miss seeing you all at the Playhouse. We will get through this together and we look forward to seeing you when it is safe to gather. If you have any questions or concerns please direct them to any member of the board of directors using their contact emails listed below.
Allenda Jenkins, President
Jaime Montoya, Treasurer
Mary Waters, Secretary
Stephanie Smith, Board Member at Large
COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) UPDATE
UPDATED INFORMATION AS OF 3/23/2020
While this notice is lengthy we encourage you to read through it in its entirety for important information regarding the Whidbey Playhouse’s actions regarding COVID -19.
We are reaching out to all of you with an update and will continue to do so as the days and weeks move forward. In this time of uncertainty, we have an obligation to keep our patrons, volunteers, staff, donors, and community members in the know as we adapt to our changing realities.
We want to assure you that we are working tirelessly on ways the Whidbey Playhouse can continue to serve the community while keeping everyone safe. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our community members, beginning with our staff and volunteers. Following the recommendations by the CDC, Governor Inslee and our public health agencies we have restricted access to our building, limited the number of essential personnel who are working on an as needed basis, and out of an abundance of caution we have decided to cancel the remaining shows and events for the 2019-20 Season. The shows are “Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” and “Clue: The Musical.” The events are the spring session for Whidbey Players and Whidbey Has Talent. This decision was not made lightly and ultimately the safety of our staff, volunteers and patrons is our priority.
The Whidbey Playhouse Community Theater is facing a significant financial loss as a result of these cancellations. We ask for your help during this crisis. Please consider one of the following regarding your tickets for the cancelled shows:
Credit towards a future show.
Consider the cost of your ticket(s) a donation to the Whidbey Playhouse. Donor tax receipts can be provided upon request.
We thank you in advance for your patience as our staff work to confirm changes to our current season and schedule the next season (which is scheduled to begin in September). We ask that you hold off calling the theater until April 1st so our staff can call show patrons and season ticket holders in show calendar order. As a reminder the Whidbey Playhouse office is closed to the public until further notice. The best way to contact us is to email the Playhouse at email@example.com.
Whidbey Playhouse is fortunate to have many volunteers who are, at this moment, working on leveraging digital technology to provide solutions for ongoing theater education, entertainment and chances to engage with one another. We welcome your thoughts, ideas and comments. Please watch for updates regarding this.
You may contact us via email and social media. If you are uncomfortable with email, please call us – we remind you that we are receiving a large volume of calls and will make every effort to respond in a timely manner. If you are a member of the media, a sponsor, or a donor who needs to speak with our Marketing Manager directly, please feel free to email her at
We thank you for your patience, encourage you to reach out to friends and family via phone, email, skype, and social media and find happy moments and pleasant memories to fill your thoughts!
Whidbey Playhouse Board of Directors
Allenda Jenkins, President
Mary Waters, Secretary
Jaime Montoya, Treasurer
Stephanie Smith, Board Member at Large
Office number: (360) 679-2237