After much debate, internally, and long conversations with colleagues at and around the EXIT, we have decided that it’s for the best to cancel The Olympians Festival this year.
When we last met things were looking so much better that like many people within the theater community, we decided to be hopeful, and while considering various ideas for how to make the Olympians experience safe for everyone, we even found ourselves quietly thinking, “most of this probably won’t be necessary by then.”
Unfortunately, that has not proven to be the case.
After months of weighing the cost vs. the benefits, we also realized it would take a lot of work to make our festival safe and also FEEL SAFE for everyone, and that core aspects of what make The Festival so worthwhile would be compromised by these efforts. At the end of the day, while we believe there is value in adapting and change and we applaud all those companies and organizations which have managed to do so, we have definitely found it is also valuable to ask who it would serve to continue to do something if it can only be done in a way that drastically alters the very thing it is. As we found ourselves drawing up a plan that seemed difficult but feasible, what kept hitting us in the face was that the end result was something that was no longer the Festival we loved.
We also set an internal standard of “If daily deaths nationally reach 1,000 again, we will reconsider pushing forward, safety precautions or no safety precautions.” On Thursday, September 9th, the US topped 2,000 in a day, a number not seen since the winter. In our eyes it would be folly, but also hubris, to push forward with an event of our size while the virus continues to infect and kill so many people.
There will be more Olympians down the road. Maybe, hopefully, next year. We had an incredible crop of writers and artists slated for this year and we look forward to seeing what they bring into the world, whether it’s through us, or via some other avenue of access. Please support them any way you can, until we can once again offer them a platform worthy of their work, and your attention.
In the meantime, we wish everyone health and safety.
-The SF Olympians Festival