How The Music Hall Has Adapted to COVID-19 Challenges
The Music Hall in Portsmouth is getting creative in its efforts to stay viable as an indoor venue hosting events during a pandemic.
Monte Bohanan, the venue's director of communications and community engagement, understands that folks are in a tough spot. Some feel unsafe venturing out at all, let alone to an indoor music venue such as The Music Hall.
Still, Bohanan feels the arts and culture industries are at the crossroads of an existential crisis, and that events being held during a pandemic like those being produced by The Music Hall are significant and could hold even more importance in a post-pandemic world.
"At The Music Hall we are doing everything we can do make sure we are maintaining a safe environment," Bohanan told Seacoast Current. "We are going to need the arts when we get on the other side of this thing (the pandemic). "I think it's a very personal choice about how comfortable you are going out, and that's completely fine. Our goal is to be here when people are ready to come back.
"It's about keeping a little bit of light shining through and doing what we can to keep the show on the stage."
Bohanan reiterated that buying tickets and attending shows, of which The Music Hall has several upcoming, is far from the only way to help the venue and the industry itself stay afloat.
"There are other ways to help that are not buying a ticket," Bohanan said. "You can maintain, renew or join as a member. You can spread the news about shows on social media. You can help by spreading the word and letting people know that there's some stuff going on."
But for those who are interested in attending an upcoming show at The Music Hall, Bohanan said the venue is taking its COVID-19 precautions seriously.
The Music Hall is currently only allowing 20% capacity indoors, which is significantly lower than the state-mandated maximum of 50% capacity. Bohannan also said the venue has a brand new HVAC system with "medical-grade" air filtration.
From November to New Year's Eve, the venue is hosting a Holiday Medley with socially distanced indoor shows, including a stage door cabaret arranged for small gatherings on the historic stage, multiple comedic performances including Juston McKinney, live music, and even screened presentations of holiday movies.