Smith Fine Arts Series’ COVID safe comeback

Smith Fine Arts Series returns to Rice Auditorium with COVID-19 safety precautions 

Camille Lenning | Entertainment Editor

Smith Fine Arts Series is entering its 44th season this October, and it’s making a triumphant return to in person performances after switching to an online format in March 2020. 

Lisa Schachter, director of the Smith Fine Arts Series, is in charge of operations and fundraising, and has been working hard to get performances running again. Among her other duties, Schachter was also involved with implementing Smith Fine Arts Series’ COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“Once we got clearance that we were going to actually be able to start doing things in the performing arts hall, but with a lot of limitations, that’s when we knew we could move forward with the artists and (get) in touch with them,” Schachter said. “The musicians and artists are all very anxious to get back on stage, we just wanted to make sure we did it safely.” 

Schachter asserted that Smith Fine Arts Series will strictly follow Western’s COVID guidelines, including: requiring vaccine cards upon entry to Rice Auditorium; declining to serve food or drinks before, during or after performances so that masks can be worn at all times; cancelling intermissions during shows to reduce crowding in the lobby; and closing seating within the first three rows of the auditorium to allow social distancing between artists and the audience. 

Andi Moring, a senior math and theatre double major at Western, has worked as the program assistant for 18 months. Hired right before the pandemic began, she had never worked on ⏤ nor seen ⏤ an in person performance from Smith Fine Arts Series. 

“I’m taking ticket orders now, which I’d never done prior to this,” Moring said. “It’s so much more exciting to be like ‘Yes, I’ll take your ticket orders for these shows that we will have.’” 

Though Moring has little experience dealing with an in person Smith Fine Arts production, she remains optimistic.

“I’m a little nervous, but I’m really excited to see a show and interact with people, that’s one of my favorite things in life,” said Moring.

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