To the members of the CentreStage community,

Since early January, we have been tracking the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation daily, offering standing guidance and regular updates to our team members. We will continue that practice. However, with the disease now established in Australia, and major holidays coming up shortly, we are intensifying our response to protect the health and wellbeing of performers, staff, volunteers and the greater Geelong community.

Recently, in the past 48 hours, reports of global hotspots has shifted, and the contagion pattern is not well understood. With that uncertainty, we need to make prudent choices to protect the health of our own community and the broader communities we belong to, without creating unnecessary disruptions to the normal pursuit of our educational and artistic mission.

These guidelines represent our best judgment, at this moment, about practical steps we can all take to reduce risk for ourselves and for each other. These decisions have been extremely hard for us to arrive at and for our volunteers to process. However, we trust that you will respect our choices given these challenging circumstances.

I know that both the spread of this disease and our decisions about it, affect not only CentreStage programs and planning, but the lives of individuals. For many of you, the steps we are taking to protect the health of the community may involve significant inconvenience and personal sacrifice. Please accept my gratitude in advance for your goodwill and understanding.

I also hope we can be sensitive to each other’s burdens in this situation and make accommodations to support one another where we can. And I count on every member of our community to make sure that the discrimination, shunning and bullying that sometimes accompany an outbreak never occur at CentreStage or within our community.

In partnership with the Geelong Arts Centre, Australian Federal Government, Department of Education and Training, Creative Victoria, and Department of Human Services, we have established the following preventive health measures that effect our upcoming production of West Side Storydue to open March 27th.

The planned programming of West Side Story has been postponed and not be onstage during the originally planned March 27th– April 4th season at the Geelong Arts Centre.

We understand that this news may cause heartache and disappointment to our cast, creatives and volunteers, many of whom have spent that last 12 months working on this project. We continue to encourage our network to actively engage with the Arts Wellbeing Collective (a complimentary service) and Beyond Blue for assistance whilst navigating this difficult situation.

Over the coming days, our team will commence planning to potentially stage WEST SIDE STORY at the Geelong Arts Centre in July/August and will communicate with our cast and audiences about their options if these changes occur. We appreciate your patience as we work towards rescheduling our performance dates for West Side Story. We trust you will allow us time to provide you with the most accurate information we have available given the constantly evolving landscape we find ourselves in. We will continue to take the advice mentioned above to understand the ongoing uncertainly of the COVID-19 Virus.

Shortly, all audience members will receive communication from the Geelong Arts Centre direc