We hope this message finds you safe and well. We at the Clinton Street Theater have come to the difficult conclusion that we must close our doors at this time. We do not know how long this will last. We do not know what this means for our future.

The current pandemic has caught all of us by surprise, and this event, though “unprecedented,” is not exactly unprecedented for the Clinton Street Theater. In operation since 1915, CST started in the shadow of a world at war and faced the Spanish Flu epidemic a few years later in 1918. (Note: Wikipedia link on 1918 flu in Portland bit.ly/399PwWr)

The service industry, the gig economy, and the arts, are the backbone of a local economy – in many cases it is these folks who provide the daily function and color in our life. It’s your favorite food cart, bakery or corner restaurant. It’s performers, artists, masseuses, hair cutters, local mechanic shops and ride-share drivers. It’s all those local businesses of 1-20 employees.

We will continue to support our staff and try to keep our monthly bills paid by running up our personal debt and/or taking money from our retirement savings, but we know that we cannot continue this indefinitely. We ask you to consider the following actions:

  • Keep pressing your elected officials for concrete answers and real-world solutions. Public health mandates should be followed, but there is no reason to be compliant without making your voice heard.
  • Allow others to voice their experiences and issues without dismissive statements based on your personal view of what should be the norm in this abnormal time. We are all affected, but do not all travel the same road through this experience.
  • For your own mental health, do not obsessively follow the news all day long. Stay informed, but give your mind and body ample relaxation and nourishment time appreciating art, literature or the lovely spring weather.

Finally, social distancing does not mean that we should become insular. Reach out to those who are navigating this alone or excessively burdened by these restrictions. There will be many that require financial assistance to be sure, but all of us need to fill the emotional chasm left by this sudden ban of community assembly and involvement.

Be kind and stay healthy, Roger Leigh