PORTSMOUTH — The Verne Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University is set to reopen this coming 2021-2022 season.
After being closed since the shutdown in March 2020 and having to cancel last season’s shows, the VRCFA will be presenting around 34 different shows open to the public this coming season.
“It was very disconcerting and sad to not hear any music in the building,” said Stan Workman, Artistic Director of the VRCFA. “For someone like me, music is my life. We’ve been dealing with the uncertainty of things and we are certainly trying to get going, but at the same time, we want to be very safe.”
The VRCFA is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines. Audience members will be asked to wear masks while indoors however, there will not be a limit on seating and at times, people will be seated next to each other.
“There is that worry in the back of our minds that we could shut down again, but we are staying optimistic,” said Workman. “So far, the CDC says vaccinated people are at low risk and of course, wearing a mask helps whether you’re vaccinated or not we encourage both to continue wearing masks while indoors and we really hope people are understanding.”
Workman decided not to do a subscription series this season due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 and all tickets will have to be purchased separately for each event.
“We had a couple of smaller events back in May, but our main season begins here shortly,” said Workman. “I look forward to getting back to normal activities even if we do have to deal with mask.”
After teaching voice through computer screens for a while, Workman said there’s no better feeling than being face to face and being able to hear and feel the vibrations of singing.
“I know all educators are feeling the despair of having to teach under the circumstances, but it’s important to be safe, healthy and alive,” said Workman.
Workman shared that he and everyone else are just happy to be back in general and encourage everyone to see the different shows being put on this season.
Featured shows cover a wide range of genres such as Celtic, Irish, country, classic, rock and pop music.
Featured shows (SOPAA Series) include Rockapella, We Banjo 3, Oak Ridge Boys, Q4, Helen Welch, CBL, Roots and Boots, Beethoven, Celtic Angels, SS/Joan Ellison-Judy Garland Tribute, & Clyde McCoy Tribute.
Rockapella will be the first featured show of the season, taking place Thursday, Sept. 16, at 7:30 p.m. Rockapella was one of the first groups to ever perform at the VRCFA back in 1995. The vocal group features their versions of Motown, pop and soul classics.
Roots and Boots will feature country stars Sammy Kershaw & Coolin Raye, and Beethoven will be performed in honor of Beethoven’s 250th birthday that took place in 2020
The VRCFA will also host many other performances by the Musical Theatre Department, Performing Arts Academy, PAAC/PACT, Portsmouth Wind Symphony, Cirque D’ Art Theatre Troupe, Noreen’s Dance Studio and much more.
“I want to encourage people to get out, buy the tickets and come to our shows. Our shows are very family friendly and whether you’re a lover of music or Broadway, there is something for everyone here at the theatre,” Workman said. “We are very blessed to have this theatre and in general, we want people to feel safe here and are just happy to be back.”
For more information regarding events at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, go to [email protected]
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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