Quick Q+A: Jessica Paxton + The Parkway Theater

We’re not sure we can handle another wave of cancelations more than a week-long—ughhhhhhhh—and we wondered how some venues are doing, too. So we checked in with Jessica Paxton, the Talent Buyer & Marketing Specialist at The Parkway, which still has some really good events happening this weekend (and vax and mask requirements to go with them). 

For those of us working in the arts & entertainment sector, the idea of possibly shutting things down again is devastating.

DISPATCH: Omicron is making us insane, how are you holding up? For those of us working in the arts & entertainment sector, the idea of possibly shutting things down again is devastating. But as anxious as we are, I feel like this whole situation has really cemented a sense of community amongst artists and arts-lovers. There’s definitely a sense that we’ve got each others’ backs and we’re gonna hang tight and take care of each other.

It’s a busy weekend at The Parkway with Joe Bob Briggs and some really fun film events. The theater is riding the line between being safe (vax requirements) and just being open at all while so many other shows have been moved or canceled. What’s the approach?  I wouldn’t say we’re riding a line because I think that implies intentional risk. We fully realize that things can evolve quickly but for now, we are reassured by high vaccination/booster rates, and the fact that The Parkway takes pandemic protocol seriously. We have successfully implemented safety precautions that have been easily and successfully followed. We continue to listen to artists and to our audiences about their concerns and requests. We pay attention to national and state and city guidelines and are positioned to pivot as need be. We also recognize the inherent value in being open in order to keep our industry alive.

How are your patrons handling the requirements? Artists want to be able to perform. Audiences want to be entertained. In order to make this happen, COVID restrictions have been implemented at The Parkway and artists and audiences both have been grateful for our approach and completely on-board. Again, there’s definitely a sense of everyone working together and doing what needs to be done so that artists can perform and audiences can still enjoy themselves.

Looking forward, are you as a venue hoping for a big Spring to make up for this most recent surge? We are grateful that we survived 18+ months of closures and were able to re-open and get back to the business of presenting a fantastic range of programming. We don’t take any of this for granted. We’re not out of the woods by any means but every show we present going forward feels that much more important — we are grateful to do what we do and to have the support of the artists we work with and the audiences who love The Parkway.

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