After a year off the stage, local theaters are recovering with community support

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Live theater is back in Central Illinois.

“We’re thrilled to be open again, that’s all I can say,” said Nicki Haschke, the business administrator for the Peoria Players Theatre.

With COVID-19 mitigations easing, theaters were able to welcome back audiences.

“It was very exciting to see all of the patrons come back out and support live theater and just be excited to be back under the tent,” said Corn Stock Theatre Box Office Manager Brandi Young.

Haschke said it is exciting to see people fill the theater again.

“We just opened with our season opener, ‘Little Women,’ that ran in September,” Haschke said. “We’re very pleased with the audience numbers.”

Audience numbers are still not as high as they were pre-pandemic and as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads, theaters have to plan ahead.

“We don’t have our full houses like we used to pre-pandemic. We understand people are still a little hesitant with the pandemic,” Haschke said.

Young said summer ticket sales helped bring back some revenue, but grants bridged the gap until things return to normal.

“We are hopeful that those numbers will increase next year, but we are thankful that we had people come out and join us again,” Young said.

Haschke said they could not have stayed afloat without the support of the community.

“Last year, we did a patron donation campaign, and our patrons brought in about $75,000 which really helped us. They saved us,” Haschke said.

Corn Stock is wrapping up its summer season with the last day of “Peter Pan the Musical” on Oct. 2. Winter kicks off with the next production, “The Toxic Avenger,” starting Oct. 15.

Peoria Players recently reopened to the public in early September with its production of “Little Women.” The next production, “The Shawshank Redemption,” starts on Oct. 8.

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