Blog Post

Pressing Pause on Indoor Shows

Hello everyone,

We have made the difficult decision to cancel Highwire Improv’s indoor in-person shows for August, and suspend indoor shows until further notice.  Our documentation has been updated to reflect this, and we’ll shortly make social media posts with a summary of the same information.

Continue reading for some additional details about this decision and what to expect next.

Current Production Status (as of post on 8-August-2021, see the above link for the most up-to-date info)

  • Indoor Shows: SUSPENDED
  • Outdoor Shows: LIVE, RECOMMENDED ONLY FOR VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS
  • Online Shows: LIVE, RECOMMENDED FOR ALL INDIVIDUALS

For Season 4, this means we have cancelled the following shows:

  • August 14th at The Crown
  • August 21st at The Lou Costello Room
  • August 28th at Mindpub

Our outdoor show on August 19th at Old Line Spirits is still on.

September and October in-person shows will be reevaluated by the end of August.

What’s Changed?
Three key things have changed or progressed which has caused us to make this decision.

  1. COVID-19 case rates have increased dramatically since July 1st, and are continuing to increase.  Both Maryland and Baltimore City case rates have gone up significantly in the past few weeks, to levels comparable to those in late April/early May.
  2. Additional evidence continues to be presented that the Delta variant of SARS-COV-2 (a variant of interest of the virus which causes COVID-19) is significantly more likely to result in breakthrough cases among vaccinated individuals and to be transmitted among vaccinated individuals.  This evidence is emerging, which is actually an additional reason for caution, as we do not yet have a firm understanding of how severe a change this is.
  3. The CDC has recommended, in light of the above changes, that vaccinated individuals resume wearing masks for indoor activities in areas of substantial or high transmission.  Baltimore City has applied that guidance in the form of an indoor mask mandate which goes into effect on Monday August 9th.

In short, the risks have increased, while the reward has decreased (due to the requirement of performers needing to wear masks).  At this time, and likely until the mask mandate has lifted, the safety of our community is too at risk to continue performing indoor shows.

Because neither the CDC nor Baltimore City guidance has changed for outdoor events at this time, we are still able to move forward with those events, with a recommendation that only vaccinated individuals attend.

What Do You Mean When You Say Recommended Only for Vaccinated Individuals?
As stated in our original plan for moving to in-person, we do not plan to mandate or require that performers or audience members be vaccinated against COVID-19 (or provide proof of vaccination).  This is based on allowing for individual autonomy and privacy, but crucially based on CDC guidance that vaccinated individuals can safely engage in activities where both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are present.  

However, CDC guidance was, and is clear that both indoor activities and crowded outdoor activities are in the ‘least safe’ category for unvaccinated individuals.  As such, we can not recommend unvaccinated individuals attend these events, and we can not encourage members of our community to invite unvaccinated individuals.  This continues to be reflected in our guidance linked above.

What is Highwire Improv Doing with the Impacted Venues?
We have been in contact with each venue over the past week discussing their plans for updating safety measures and continuing production.  In cases where we are cancelling August shows, but the venue is not, we are offering to pay our fees for the show (where applicable).

We want to be very clear that in each case, this decision is based on the changing situation with respect to COVID-19, the updated CDC guidance, and the updated Baltimore City mask mandate.  In no case were we concerned or dissatisfied with the setup, safety measures, or interactions we have had with the venues.

What Can I Do With My Show?
As stated in our original plan for moving to in-person, we will continue to make online shows an option for any group working with Highwire Improv.  In light of the sudden change to the Season 4 schedule, we are happy to move any planned in-person show to online.  We will reach out to all teams to collect interest and availability – so the online show may not be on the originally planned night of your in-person show.

There is of course, no obligation to move to online shows.  If we are able to resume in-person shows during Season 4, we will make every attempt to get a show for any team which wants one.

What Happens Next?
Highwire Improv will continue to monitor national, state, and local guidance, and stay in contact with our current venues (and potentially additional venues).  If things change, we’ll update everyone as soon as possible.  Updated information will always be reflected here:
Planning for In-Person Shows

Otherwise, we encourage everyone to watch and participate in our online and outdoor events!

As always, thank you for your feedback, and please continue to reach out with questions, feedback, or concerns.

Highwire Improv

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