Lights out

DFW theater exits the scene following COVID-19 challenges

DFW theater exits the scene following COVID-19 challenges

'Night Mother
Marsha Norman's play 'Night, Mother was part of the final season. Photo courtesy of Tarrant Actors Regional Theatre

After seven years of producing live theater, Tarrant Actors Regional Theatre (TART) has announced it will permanently cease operations on all mainstage productions.

"Due to the loss of our primary source of funding and recent staffing changes, not to mention the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, this season has been the 'perfect storm' for our organization, from which we simply are unable to recover at this time," says Allen Walker, TART's president and artistic director, in a release.

It is the first DFW theater company to close completely since the pandemic began.

With a mission to "entertain, inspire, challenge, and educate its audiences through live theater," TART continually grew year after year thanks to the support of loyal patrons and dedicated volunteers. Stipends for performing artists and creative staff were provided per production, a structure many theater companies of TART's size have been unable to duplicate.

"It has been a fantastic seven seasons and I am very proud of what we've accomplished," Walker says.

This season, TART presented 'Night, Mother by Marsha Norman and Hay Fever by Noel Coward. The summer musical, Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, announced its cancellation during pre-production due to COVID-19-related health and safety concerns. All ticket holders were refunded in April.

Along with Walker, Tarrant Actors Regional Theatre has been managed by Alex Krus (executive vice president), Karen Matheny (director of development), Charles M. Gatlin Jr. (board secretary), and Nicole R. Dobbins (board member).

Although the group will no longer produce full-scale productions, the board of directors is committed to continuing their established collaborations in the Fort Worth Fringe festival and other local arts events.