The audience waits for the curtain to go up on one of the Pentacle Theatre's last productions. The entertainment venue remains closed by the pandemic.

Anna Peterson, former Salem mayor, once said, “If you want drama, buy a ticket to the Pentacle (Theatre). I don’t like drama at council meetings.” 

As it turns out, though, there’s no drama to be had at the playhouse. COVID-19, for now, has claimed that source of entertainment, too.

Pentacle Theatre, Salem’s premier community theater, has been offering live entertainment in an intimate West Salem setting for 66 years. The directors, cast, and crew love delighting audiences in the rustic playhouse. 

But for now, it has been too quiet on the set, as the ticket office has been dormant and the 191 theater seats are devoid of enthusiastic patrons that typically fill them.

Stealing the show, the virus has forced the cancellation of the 2020 season, including “Shrek” and “She Kills Monsters” while the shows “Rabbit Hole” and “Company” have been postponed. Also, acting workshops are suspended until schools reopen, and staff are partially furloughed from June 15 through July.

So, how can Salem rally behind this long-endeared community living space? Executive Director Lisa Joyce said ticket holders can start by donating their tickets back to Pentacle instead of requesting refunds.  

“The Pentacle Theatre governing board has had to make some very difficult decisions,” said Joyce. “We’re reaching out to you, our donors and patrons, to share all actions we are taking to prevent the spread of the virus and comply with state and federal guidelines.”

While attending live shows isn’t possible, Pentacle is offering a weekly series of video conversations called “Behind the Mask.” Find these cast interviews on its Facebook Page and YouTube.

To support Pentacle Theater, you candonate online at pentacletheatre.org/donate. Cash donations can be mailed to Pentacle Theatre, 145 Liberty St. N.E., Suite 102, Salem, OR 97301. 

And while non-cash items aren’t particularly needed at this time, Pentacle’s lawn mower was recently stolen. If you happen to have a spare lawnmower collecting dust in your garage, the theatre could undoubtedly put it to good use.

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing regularly for Salem Reporter. During the quarantine, she will be connecting with Salem nonprofits. Tell her about your nonprofit needs at [email protected] and follow her on Facebook.