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BANNER ELK — Ensemble Stage in downtown Banner Elk announced last week additional changes to its production schedule in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Based on Governor Cooper’s announcement on Wednesday, June 24, and with the safety of our volunteers, artists and audiences in mind, we have made the decision to further alter our 2020 summer season,” the group released in an email blast. “Our four professional summer productions have been postponed to our 2021 summer season and we have canceled our 2020 Kids Summer Theatre Camp.”

Despite the changes to the schedule, Ensemble Stage continues to offer entertainment options of a virtual variety for those who continue to support the group and crave theatre productions.

“To help keep you entertained, we’ve created an Ensemble Stage YouTube channel with audio/video recordings of some of our past staged radio plays and holiday shows, and will be adding more selections periodically,” the organization announced.

Though the state has remained in Phase 2 of reopening provisions, ES hopes that with advancement, it can again offer theatrical entertainment in the near future.

“We know that there is no replacement for the in-person theatre experience. Therefore, we’ve left the door open for us to provide some form of theatrical entertainment, with the caveat that we will use CDC, as well as state and local Covid-19 guidelines to inform and steer us,” the group noted.

Among the productions that Ensemble Stage is hoping to bring to Hahn Auditorium is a Theatre for Kids production, a staged radio play, as well as upcoming fall presentations.

“If Avery County is moved to Phase 3 in mid-July we will be presenting a Theatre for Kids production, ‘Appalachian Jack,’ which will be performed outdoors at the Banner Elk Tate-Evans Park Amphitheater on July 25 and August 8,” the organization says. “We have also added a staged radio play, ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ that we plan to perform in August and September. The dates and location(s) of its performances are still being determined. Keep in mind, everything is predicated on what Covid mitigation phase our region is in, as well as other health and safety factors.”

For the latest information on Ensemble Stage and its future performances, click to www.ensemblestage.com, email info@ensemblestage.com, visit the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EnsembleStage, or call (828) 414-1844.

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