Even though Riverside County entered the red tier of business re-openings last week, theaters, production companies, dance companies and other art organizations remain closed.

As a result of the pandemic, performing arts organizations have shifted to the virtual world to continue presentations. According to Ron Celona, artistic director at Coachella Valley Repertory (CVRep): “It started out as an exciting opportunity to get creative. And it’s still popular. It’s just not the same as live performances.”Like many organizations, CVRep has looked at ways to re-offer live performances amid coronavirus concerns, social distancing and — most importantly — a safe and comfortable environment.

Discussions with the City of Cathedral City produced an exciting partnership, one in which live performances could be potentially offered utilizing the nearly completed Cathedral City Community Amphitheater. The 109,335-square-foot outdoor venue was used for the city’s popular Taste of Jalisco event in February, shortly before Gov. Gavin Newsom issued state-wide shelter-in-place orders.A committee, comprising key personnel from CVRep as well as councilmember Rita Lamb and Parks and Community Events Commissioner Stephen Vericker, brainstormed about creating a performing arts series. During the City Council’s September meeting, Chris Parman, communications & events manager, created a plan which Celona said would include jazz concerts, Latinx programs, a Shakespeare production and other exciting programming. The council unanimously voted in favor, clearing the way for live arts to return to the Coachella Valley when approved by state and county authorities.

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