McDONOUGH — The Henry Players are fighting to keep their doors opens.
The acting troupe is not unlike many in the county and country when their doors closed in the spring with no idea when they would be back. The pandemic ended their 29th season abruptly, leaving their space at Hood Street Arts Center frozen in time.
The cast was well into rehearsals for their second to last show of the season “Mamma Mia!” Sets had been built and costumes were rented.
“I walked back into our space after three months, and it was surreal,” said Adriana Beckner, president of The Henry Players. “Seeing everything untouched for so long, it was a weird moment.”
Though the stage stayed dark and seats empty, The Henry Players still had overhead. Bills like rent, electricity and the rights to shows still had to be paid.
Beckner said the group has been able to cover those bills, but funds are getting tight.
She said the group has faith they can get through the hardship but would like to be comfortable enough to know Season 30 can continue.
In September, they reopened, welcoming the community, but it came at a price. Beckner said the show did really well, but following coronavirus guidelines, they’ve cut their seating to 50-60 people instead of the usual 200. Ticket sales covered the cost of the show, but not enough to put away funds for future costs.
On Dec. 3, The Henry Players will kick off their second show of Season 30, “Elf The Musical.”
In an effort to make enough money to cover their overhead and accommodate all those who would like to see it, the show has been extended for a third weekend.
“It’s a lot of work for our cast, but we know it’s worth it,” she said.
Beckner explained the opportunity to act in and watch a live show creates an outlet for everyone to step away from real life for a little while, especially in the time of the pandemic.
“It’s a creative outlet for so many in our community,” she said. “Over the last 30 seasons we have brought together thousands of people. If we lose this, our community will be affected, especially our children.”
To help keep their doors open, Beckner started a GoFundMe fundraiser, with the hopes of covering overhead through the season. The Henry Players is a non-profit organization so all donations are tax deductible. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com and search for The Henry Players.
In addition to limiting capacity, the theater and seating are cleaned using a spray sanitizer several times between shows. Theater-goers must wear a mask in all common areas, along with a temperature check before entering.
Beckner said she and the staff are playing “Jenga” with seating charts to allow for groups who are together to sit together. The concession stand will be closed; however, staff membes will filter through offering drinks and snacks.
The following is the season schedule:
♦ “Elf The Musical” — Dec. 3-6, 10-13 and 17-20
♦ “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” — Feb. 11-14 and 18-21
♦ “In the Heights” — April 29-May 2 and May 6-9
♦ “The Color Purple” — June 10-13 and 17-20
Ticket prices range between $15-18 and can be purchased on the The Henry Players Facebook page or www.henryplayers.com. Season passes are also available. All shows are held at the Hood Street Arts Center, 136 Hood St. in McDonough.
“We have a full 30th season planned, and I hope everyone will come out to join and support us,” Beckner said. “There’s been a lot of new and interesting challenges we never thought we’d have to deal with, but we’re working hard to give everyone a great experience.”