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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Karla Hartley, Stageworks Theatre

Bill DeYoung



For her second appearance on The Catalyst Sessions, Stageworks Theatre’s producing artistic director Karla Hartley reflected on the three months gone by (almost to the day) that COVID-19 brought the curtain down.

“At the moment, we’re permitted theoretically to be open, and to do things at 50 percent of our capacity. Which for us would be about 45-50 people. With social distancing in place, it really only means about 30 people.

“So we’re going to start to open to small events. We’re going to make sure we have the masks that are required. We’re going to make sure people’s temperatures are taken as they’re coming into the theater.   And maintain social distancing protocols as we need to.”

These are not plays, mind you, not Stageworks’ bread nor Stageworks’ butter. The theater will be rented to those who need a meeting or performance space where 30 or fewer is capacity.

“It’s just not fiscally responsible to produce,” Hartley says. “Setting aside of morality of having a bunch of people in the room together.”

From, the archive: Karla Hartley on The Catalyst Sessions March 30, 2020.


With all theater on hold indefinitely, Stageworks is expanding its virtual content into the summer. Available right now:

State of the Art, an interview podcast with Hartley talking with actors, directors and various creative types;

Storytime, in which friends of the theater read books – on camera – related to social issues (click here for Jessy Julianna Minson’s take on the Spanish-language Ade Activista (A for Activist);

Stageworks Artists Sing For You, exactly what it sounds like.

The 2020-21 season announcement, whatever it’s to be, is still a ways off. In the meantime, Hartley is thinking – very seriously – about launching a singing telegram program.

This is a fascinating interview, with moments of great seriousness and meditation mixed with lightness and levity.

Today on The Catalyst Sessions: Music and conversation with Greg Billings and George Harris.

Streaming at 7 p.m. weekdays on the Catalyst Facebook page. All episodes are archived on our YouTube page.

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