Professional theater of the Great Western Catskills!

May 10, 2020

FSC Cancels 2020 Season Due to COVID-19

For us, the year is like a wheel.

As it turns toward spring, our season climbs toward the top of its arc. The apex is the string of long, gorgeous summer days that end on the porch at Chapel Hall with a wonderful group of humans—you—gathering to hear stories, reveal a nugget of Franklin history as you check in, grab a cookie and a breeze at intermission, and drop a donation in the hat as you head home, supporting FSC to keep creating innovative theater. Then the wheel turns again and begins its descent—closing up the season, the building and the summer, heading toward the quiet time when we dream up the next round. We love this time, too—an imaginative hibernation, when we think of what we might enjoy sharing when the wheel turns again. All the revolutions of the year bring gifts, but maybe the most comforting is the knowledge of the turning itself—our faith that the seasons will come round again.

That’s why this year has been so challenging. The feeling that our wheel might be stuck in the muck. Worse, we’re not sure when we can get it moving again. The historic COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed our certainty about reliable turnings. Here we are in one place: waiting. Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot has never seemed so relevant.

At FSC, we’ve been thinking these last several weeks about what this season can be, what we can do, and how we can keep ourselves, our artists, and all of you who make the season worthwhile healthy and safe. We’ve said we want to do all that we can this summer, and we’ve been pondering how to creatively do just that. At this point, we feel that producing a season—rehearsing, building and producing shows where actors work side-by-side with directors, designers, stage managers and interns for weeks in one room, and squeezing our audience into our welcoming but small space—is too much of a risk. And so we have decided not to conduct a regular season of shows in Chapel Hall. In making this very difficult decision, we are also listening to the guidance of our town, our state, artist unions and our audience.

So, what is all that we can do in this unusual and challenging season? How can we keep FSC operating but not open for shows? In order to fulfil our mission and serve our community, this summer we will turn to caring for Chapel Hall, initiating and completing some long hoped-for projects that will improve the building (which is also part of our mission) until a time we can gather again. Some of the projects we can accomplish this year are:

  • Install a permanent exhibition on the history of Chapel Hall and the Franklin Stage Company, a historical retrospective
  • Replace the rotting floorboards and subfloor of the entire porch expanse
  • Restore the bilco doors and surrounding walls for better access to our basement/scene shop
  • Install snow guards on the roof for safety
  • Complete water and electricity restoration to the third-floor kitchen and bathroom

The downtime forced upon us will actually allow us to complete these important projects and ensure that Chapel Hall, our historic home, continues to get the attention she deserves.

As with every season, we can’t do this without you. Only with your support, can we assure that Chapel Hall continues to serve our community, artists, neighbors and residents of the Western Catskills. And only with your help, can FSC plan to come back better than ever in 2021. Truthfully, we need your support now more than ever to continue to stay afloat and assure FSC’s future.

Visit our donation page to support FSC in staying strong and weathering the COVID-19 crisis. With your help, we will not stand still, but keep moving until the wheel of time can bring us together again.

Contact Info & Getting Here


The Franklin Stage Company  is located at 25 Institute Street, Franklin, NY with parking in the Franklin Central School parking lot. We are 50 miles east of Binghamton, 10 miles west of Oneonta, and 35 miles southwest of Cooperstown. Chapel Hall is air conditioned and handicapped accessible with ADA ramp and bathroom.


[email protected]

P.O. Box 821
25 Institute Street
Franklin, NY 13775

Our Mission

Franklin Stage Company's dual mission is to produce professional, admission-free theater that brings together audiences and artists to create community and celebrate the enduring power of stories; and to ensure the preservation of Chapel Hall, our historic home, as both an architectural treasure and a center of community activity.