As all institutions now must, The Baltimore Improv Group has been closely monitoring and evaluating news about the growing crisis from the CDC, the State of Maryland and other reputable sources.
Although our events draw audiences far smaller than the 250 person limit that the governor of Maryland imposed today, it is our responsibility to take proactive steps. As the state has set Monday as the day public schools will close, BIG will follow suit and suspend all of our performances starting on Monday 3/16. We will reassess this decision one week later. If the situation we find ourselves in today has stayed the same or worsened we will maintain the suspension and consider other possible steps.
All practices, meetings or nonofficial gatherings at our theater and training center will also be fully suspended starting on Monday 3/16. Teams are not encouraged or discouraged from continuing to practice improv, but must find other, less-trafficked locations to do so at (team member homes are suggested). For performers particularly affected by this decision that feel deeply they would like to see their shows be performed, BIG will offer what assistance it can in securing and planning other arrangements. Email me if interested.
March 16 Update: I've made the decision to pause all classes for one week. We will use the next week to asses whether classes can recommence a week or a month from now, if we should postpone all classes indefinitely, cancel classes and offer credits or possibly even retool all or some of our classes to be offered online.
I want to be clear that this is an optional decision we are choosing to make. Most of us are probably aware of the Executive Order from Governor Hogan's office closing all restaurants, bars, gyms and gatherings of 50+ people. I called the State of MD's Public Health Office and was told by multiple officials that this Order did not apply to our classes. Nonetheless, I feel it is wise to take time to get a better understanding of the crisis confronting us.
Until this upcoming Monday, BIG will continue to operate as it has.
As stated previously, any person coming to BIG for any reason should cancel their visit if they have even slight symptoms of illness. Similarly, anyone who fits the description as being at heightened risk from the Corona Virus should similarly suspend their visitations to BIG. If any person who falls into either of these categories feels any hesitation to avoid BIG for reasons BIG can alleviate, please do not hesitate to contact Terry Withers (email@example.com, 516.457.5507) and we will make it work for you.
This is a challenging time and I know that BIG will need to constantly examine and reconsider our response. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me by email or phone (I'm really a phone person) in order to discuss your thoughts, questions or concerns. Or if yu just want a pick me up, give me a call for that too.
The really wonderful improv teacher, performer, and leader Armando Diaz posted some wise words to Facebook today. I'd like to leave you with them:
"When times are tough, when you're feeling lost, the best thing to do is remember who you are and what you believe in. And I believe there is more that is good than bad in the world. And I believe that everyone has a strength and a courage that can get them through. It only has to wake up. And when we feel that courage from with in, and when we see that courage from our friends and from the world, we can overcome ANYTHING! But the first set is we have to believe. Let go of fear and believe."
Terry Withers / Managing Director / Baltimore Improv Group / 516.457.550
The Baltimore Improv Group is committed to the health and safety of our expanded community including our performers, students, volunteers and audience. We are closely watching and evaluating updates on the Coronavirus from the CDC, State of Maryland, and reputable news sources.
BIG is taking precautionary measures at our two locations where events are held. At both out theater and training center, onsite staff disinfects commonly used surfaces nightly. BIG additionally provides hand sanitizers for use by all.
BIG requests that any community member feeling even slightly unwell refrains from attending events at BIG. We make the same request of those who may be at increased risk.
If you have questions or concerns about BIG’s policies related to the Coronavirus, you may reach Terry Withers, BIG’s Managing Director, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (516.457.5507).
BIG expects to produce all of its events as scheduled. However, we will prioritize the health of our community and will adjust our policies appropriately as circumstances develop.
Various Baltimore contribute to the blog.
Individual opinions, ideas, and thoughts expressed are solely their own and are not meant to represent Baltimore Improv Group or any other organization.