ImprovBoston going dark for rest of 2020, furloughing workers

ImprovBoston to furlough full-time workers through end of year

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — At a time when many people need a laugh more than ever, longtime comedy group ImprovBoston announced this week that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced it to keep its theater dark through at least the end of 2020.

The nonprofit theater in Cambridge’s Central Square has been physically closed since mid-March and would have technically been allowed to reopen in some capacity during Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, which Gov. Charlie Baker said is set to start no sooner than July 6.

Since March, the group innovated with online programming and received many generous donations, but ImprovBoston wrote in a statement on its website Monday that a theater can only stay financially viable that way for so long. It made the difficult decision to close, regroup and tentatively relaunch in January 2021, with all full-time employees taking a voluntary furlough effective Friday, June 26, the group wrote.

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Kelly MacFarland, director of ImprovBoston’s outreach and training arm, IBCreative, said the pause in operations will hopefully allow the theater with roughly four decades of history entertaining Greater Boston to come back and continue its mission.

“Live performance is super important. It’s important for folks who are in the audience. It’s important for folks who are on stage. It’s important for kids, so that they can learn to be bold and express themselves,” MacFarland told Boston 25 News in remarks she comically described as fluff, but genuine.

“As someone who’s been performing their entire life, I have to believe that we’re going to come back and it’s going to be great. And it may just look a little different and that’s okay because different is great, if you are inspired.”

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