Local Theater Says ‘Boo' to COVID-19

Pocket Sandwich Theater is trying to connect with the public during this 'long intermission'

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A local theater that's been a staple of the Dallas Arts Community for decades is coping with the pandemic in its own way.

Pocket Sandwich Theater near Mockingbird Station has been adding little messages on its marquee sign that only a keen eye would notice.

Shanon Dickinson, PST

It's a reminder that the pandemic has been tough on the theater, which is celebrating its 40th year in business this year. They hope it’s not their last.

“We were kind of anticipating being closed for maybe a month. After a whole month, it was like, 'this is a helluva long intermission!'” joked owner Shanon Dickinson. “We've been around for 40 years and we have no plans to let this get us down.”

Shanon Dickinson, PST

The theater, which allows audience members to get interactive and throw popcorn at the stage, hasn’t had a live performance since March.

However, they've tried connecting with audiences virtually and through fundraisers to help with bills.

“The expenses still continue even though we’re closed,” Dickinson said. “We’ve been lucky that we have a property manager and a landlord that has cut us a rate on the rent until this is over so that’s been a Godsend. But we have quite a bit of bills. We’re getting by. The donations really help.”

Dickinson said she sees the marquee as another way to connect with the community, while they anxiously await their chance to reopen.

"We're known for our melodramas, known for our ‘Boo! Hiss!’ and throwing popcorn,” she said. “I'm running out of funny things to say so I'm probably going to have to come up with some sort of contest on our Facebook page.”

The performers were supposed to debut a new show in the spring but it never made the stage. They've still been rehearsing virtually to stay fresh on their parts when the time comes for them to perform.

“They have to keep up on the show but they’re also not able to do any live rehearsing so it’s all on Zoom. And that’s been difficult,” said Dickinson. “They’re hanging on, they’re hanging in there. But we have to be able to do it safely.”

Pocket Sandwich is one of the few community theaters that pays its actors and actresses for their performances.

The theater is hoping for a tentative reopening of Sept. 10.

In the meantime, they're hoping donations can keep them afloat. If you would like to help, go to www.pocketsandwich.com.

You can also click here to access their fundraiser page.

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