CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — The lights at the Carlisle Theatre are off, and you certainly won’t be seeing lines outside for the foreseeable future. But as people in the arts always say, the show must go on: this time on a digital stage. 

The Carlisle Regional Performing Arts Center, also known as the Carlisle Theatre, serves about 18,000 people a year through its programs and events. It says it has temporarily lost all revenue since the stage has been silent during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Still, the sign outside says “we are closed but art is not canceled.” It’s a saying the theatre is living by during these unprecedented times. 

Executive Director Erika Juran says as an arts organization, the nonprofit has to be creative.

The artistic staff has been putting on virtual programs to keep arts-lovers engaged, and to keep children at home busy. 

These can be found on the theatre’s website and Facebook pages

The organization is asking kids up to age 17 to make two-minute films that will be judged by local educators and filmmakers.

They will be screened at the theatre when it reopens and will be considered to be entered into the Cumberland County Historical Society’s digital archive. 

The nonprofit also plans on hosting online workshops 

It’s a way to bring some cheer to local performers of all ages whose concerts, musicals and plays have been postponed or canceled. 

“We’ve done what a lot of organizations like us have done,” said Juran. “We’ve postponed what we could. We’ve worked with for example our renters to move dates or shows out, and communicate those. Some of the events we just simply can’t postpone. We just simply lost them.”

As Juran explains, community members rely on the arts for several different reasons.

“It’s a stress release,” said Juran. “It’s expression. It’s growing. It’s learning. The arts often are expressing something of yourself. That can be done from your living room. It doesn’t need to be done on a stage.”

Spring and fall are usually the busiest times of the year for arts organizations. 

If you would like to support your local nonprofit, you can donate or buy gift cards or tickets to future shows.