ROCHESTER, Minn. - As the saying goes, the show must go on. That's the philosophy of Absolute Theatre right now.
The opening night of "Murder on the Orient Express" came on the same day that the first case of Coronavirus in Olmsted County was confirmed.
Absolute Theatre productions are performed at the Castle Community. Extra precautions are being put in place to protect patrons.
"After seeing what the public health officials had to say we decided that the show would go on, but that we would alert our patrons to the steps we're taking to maintain a very clean facility here," said Mark Hansen, President of the Absolute Theatre Board.
Absolute staff have begun disinfecting door handles, railings, elevator buttons, furniture, and game tables daily. There's also a cabaret seating layout, which minimizes close physical contact with other theatergoers, except those at your table.
They're also relaxing their ticket exchange and refund policy.
"If they feel unwell or if they feel they're in a high risk situation, all they have to do is contact our box office and we'll be happy to work with them to either refund their ticket or to arrange for another night when they're feeling better," Hansen said.
The Castle Community is a popular gathering spot in Rochester.
"It's certianly unlike anything we've ever dealt with here before, but we're doing what we can with the information we have," said Naura Anderson.
Anderson is the Executive Director of Threshold Arts, a nonprofit organization that manages artist programs and oversees events at the Castle.
"We understand that we are in a really unique position as a community space and a gathering space," said Anderson.
She's doing her part to protect the people who go there.
"Really basic things like handwashing and encouraging guests when they enter the building to wash their hands. Putting out hand sanitizer for people to use as well," Anderson explained.
All steps to keep the community safe while they enjoy everything the Castle Community has to offer, including "Murder on the Orient Express."
"So we have a cast of 10, all local talent and they're wonderful. We had a great crowd last night , a very, very warm reception. This is just a very fun show and we hope people will all come out to see it," Hansen said.
Those with Absolute Theatre and the Castle Community say they will continue to monitor the situation as it develops and consider any other actions necessary to protect the community.
If you need to contact Absolute Theatre's box office, click here: https://www.absolutetheatre.org/contact