Who has not heard this phrase before? Used in theater during times of stress and emergency, it is a call to arms.

It speaks of unification to overcome whatever obstacle is put before a theater company. Illness. Lack of funding. Catastrophe. And since this phrase is a call to action for everyone to work together, you may hear it outside of the realm of live theater, whenever a group of plucky individuals needs to band together and complete a project or meet a deadline.

In 2020, this phrase has even deeper implications. Many community theaters, as well as other arts organizations, will not reopen due to the extended shutdowns due to COVID-19. Those who reopen will face limited capacity seating, strict CDC guidelines, and patrons who are wary of leaving the safety of their homes. But — “the show must go on.” And it will go on. It is the arts that people turned to during the shelter at home phase of the pandemic. Movies, TV, books, streamed theater and music helped keep us occupied and relatively sane. Now it is time for us to return the favor, and support our local arts organizations that are beginning to reopen. Visit a local bookstore or arts council. Donate to a local museum or theater. It is so important that we recognize how much the arts play a part in our lives, and our culture.

If you have been following Lakeland’s endeavors to bring theater and entertainment to our community, we thank you! And if you haven’t, why the heck not? Now is the time to start! We are excited to announce we have some exciting projects in the works — finally! Here is what is going on:

• A scene class will be starting soon — this interactive 6-8 week workshop is perfect if you are newly interested in being on stage, or a seasoned veteran. Spaces are still available at $75 for the entire class. Call 252-586-3124 to sign up.

• We are collaborating with The Artists of Elements Gallery with a staged reading titled “Art” written by Yasmina Reza. The play focuses on what happens when one friend buys an expensive painting that his other two friends dislike. Through laughter and poignant moments, these three men explore the meaning of art and friendship. This will be performed at 7 p.m. Oct. 22-23 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 25 in the gallery. Cost is $12 per person, with very limited seating due to CDC guidelines. Visit artistsofelements.com for more information, or feel free to call us.

• We are planning on presenting a live production of two holiday classics — “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Both shows are performed in the style of a 1940s radio show, complete with foley artist making the sound effects. The details are still being worked out, but they will be in December, and performed live. Interested in auditioning? You may submit a recorded video, or sign up for a scheduled appointment. More details coming soon. For more information, like our page on Facebook (Lakeland Cultural Arts Center), or call us to have your name added to our email list.

We are so excited to be producing theater, again!

As our community begins to reopen, look for opportunities to support your local businesses. The theaters, restaurants and shops that are located in your area contribute to our regional economy, and give character to our community. Look for exciting new businesses opening soon in Littleton. Lake Fabrics upholstery just opened on Main Street, and it is fantastic!

It is time to move forward. Carefully. Safely. Together. The show must go on!

John DuVall is the Managing Artistic Director for Lakeland Cultural Arts Center in Littleton.

John DuVall is the Managing Artistic Director for Lakeland Cultural Arts Center in Littleton.