From left, Elizabeth Kensek of WaterTower Theatre, Kevin Moriarty of Dallas Theater Center, and Dana Schultes of Stage West

An Open Letter to Texas Politicians

Leaders of North Texas theaters appeal to local and state officials about including the performing arts in the pandemic conversation.

published Thursday, April 30, 2020

Photos: Courtesy the Artist | Karen Almond | Kris Hundt
From left, Elizabeth Kensek of WaterTower Theatre, Kevin Moriarty of Dallas Theater Center, and Dana Schultes of Stage West



To the Honorable City Council Members, Mayors, State Representatives and Governor of the Great State of Texas:


We, the live theatre producers of Tarrant County, are seeking guidance and clarity about when we can reopen and under what circumstances. In this county alone, there are more than 20 live theatres that are depending on you to help guide the way. There are many more when you add all of North Texas, including theatres in Dallas, Denton and Collin counties.

It is no exaggeration to say that our industry is facing an existential crisis. If not managed with care, we could see the closure of numerous theatres locally and nationwide along with the loss of hundreds of thousands of industry-related jobs. Theatres of all budget sizes are facing an uncertain future and the ripple-effect will be devastating.

Once given permission to reopen, many houses will likely see mandatory attendance caps of 25-50 percent. Paired with unforeseen safety-related expenses, the resulting drop in net incomes will be between 60-80 percent. To make matters worse, recent surveys suggest audience members will be reluctant to gather for months to come. Many health officials also explicitly recommend that those 65 and over (our largest demographic) should continue to avoid public gatherings for the foreseeable future.

How can you help? Include our industry in the conversation. The arts contribute to 4.5 percent of the nation’s GDP. We recognize that all business leaders are looking to you for guidance. We simply ask to be included in the conversation as important, contributing members of the local economy and culture. A clear understanding of when we can gather again and under what circumstances will allow us to negotiate union contracts and plan programming (which includes rehearsals and educational outreach), regardless of whether the “open date” is June 1 or September 1 or beyond.

Please don’t forget us. We are depending on your leadership.




Dana Schultes, Executive Producer, Stage West Theatre (Fort Worth)

Kevin Moriarty, Enloe/Rose Artistic Director, Dallas Theater Center (Dallas)

Elizabeth Kensek, Associate Producer, WaterTower Theatre (Addison)

The Live Theatre League of Tarrant County, representing 18 theatre organizations in Tarrant County


Additionally, the following organizations co-sign this letter. If you would like to have your performing arts group listed here, please comment on the post about this on the TheaterJones Facebook page.


Amphibian Stage (Fort Worth)

Artes De La Rosa (Fort Worth)

Artisan Center Theater (Hurst)

Arts Fifth Avenue (Fort Worth)

Bishop Arts Theatre (Dallas)

Cara Mía Theatre (Dallas)

Casa Mañana (Fort Worth)

Circle Theatre (Fort Worth)

Dallas Children’s Theater (Dallas)

Firehouse Theatre (Farmer's Branch)

Fort Worth Community Arts Center (Fort Worth)

Garland Civic Theatre (Garland)

Genesis Children's Theatre (Plano)

Hip Pocket Theatre (Fort Worth)

Imprint Theatreworks (Dallas)

Kids Who Care (Fort Worth)

Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas)

Jubilee Theatre (Fort Worth)

Lyric Stage (Dallas)

North Texas Performing Arts (Plano/Dallas/Frisco/Fairview)

Our Productions Theatre Co. (Dallas/Lewisville/Flower Mound)

Pocket Sandwich Theatre (Dallas)

Repertory Company Theatre (Richardson)

Second Thought Theatre (Dallas)

SceneShop (Fort Worth)

Shakespeare Dallas (Dallas)

Stolen Shakespeare Guild (Fort Worth)

Tarrant Actors Regional Theatre (Fort Worth)

TCU Theatre (Fort Worth)

Texas Nonprofit Theatres (Fort Worth)

Theatre Arlington (Arlington)

Theatre Three (Dallas)

Theatre Wesleyan (Fort Worth)

Undermain Theatre (Dallas)

Uptown Players (Dallas)

UTA Theatre (Arlington)

UNT Dance and Theatre (Denton)

WingSpan Theatre Company (Dallas) Thanks For Reading

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An Open Letter to Texas Politicians
Leaders of North Texas theaters appeal to local and state officials about including the performing arts in the pandemic conversation.

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