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Mainstage 222 Shifts to Online Streaming Due to COVID-19

Photo provided by Mike Morgan Photography

Irving — MainStage 222 moves to streaming with An Act of God.’ Like most live events, theater has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Working to keep its audience healthy, MainStage 222 has rerouted the regularly scheduled season.

MainStage, an Irving based community theater, is operated by a board of directors, guild and team of volunteers. In October, the theater took over the former Texas Musician’s Museum space, located at 222 E. Irving Blvd.

The 2019-2020 season was set to be a busy one for the theater with a full slate of musicals and plays. When the pandemic hit in March 2019 the theater was forced to close its doors temporarily. On March 16, MainStage canceled ‘Inherit the Wind,’ a performance slated for the spring run.

During the COVID-19 county wide lockdown, MainStage remained optimistic and ran poster contest as well as a vibrant social media presence on Facebook.

As restrictions continued MainStage made the decision host Mama’s Party, a live cabaret, online in May. Mama’s Party consisted of several Irving based performers and encouraged viewers to donate to the theater.

In June 2020, the theater announced, due to social distancing and other restrictions, their upcoming performance of ‘Disaster!, would be replaced by David Javerbaum’s ‘An Act of God,’ directed by Jake Blakeman and starring Sherry Etzel, Eric Criner and Alex Swanson. The performance was set to be a limited seating event debuting July 23 and running through Aug. 1.

Eventually as cases of COVID continued to spike, ‘An Act of God’ became an online streaming event.  

The performance will be available to stream from July 25 through Aug. 1 and streaming tickets are available for purchase.

“MainStage had to cancel a couple of shows, canceling them almost immediately when the city went into shutdown,” Clayton Cunningham, president of the MainStage Irving-Las Colinas Board of Directors, said. “The theater postponed, thinking it would be able to come back full throttle once they figured out how to move forward, but even recently had to cancel a large-scale production, because they just could not see a way to do it with the large cast they had.

“The theater sought out solutions and that is how the streaming of ‘An Act of God’ came about. The Irving Arts Center felt as though they could not move forward with a live production and sought out the streaming route.

“[Our season ticket holders] have been overwhelmingly supportive of us. They’ve stuck with us through thick and thin, and our regular patrons in similar way have done that. Our guild and volunteers have been there for us in any way they’ve been able to.”
Though the future may seem uncertain, Cunningham wants patrons and the community to know the Irving Arts Center and MainStage have safety on their mind.

“I can foresee that, certainly going into the 20-21 season, we may be doing more streaming,” Cunningham said. “We can certainly keep our patrons and actors safe, so I can foresee we could be doing some live performances and a mixture of streaming. If the Art Center has to remain closed, we can certainly be streaming a good portion of our season for next year if it comes to that. We would certainly prefer live performances and for a live audience in the theater. But if that’s not possible, we would do streaming to the best extent that we could.”