Columbia Theatre to pause productions during summer


File Photo/The Lion's Roar

Charles Ross, a comedian and Star Wars fan, held the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy on Nov. 7 in 2019. The Columbia plans to hold a variety of performances and events in the fall.

In downtown Hammond lies a popular building where locals can sit, have a good laugh, smile and maybe even cry: the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. 

The Columbia Theatre has put on numerous shows and events for and by the university throughout the fall and spring semesters. Over the summer, the Columbia Theatre uses this time to wind down and prepare for the fall productions.

Artistic Director Jim Winter shared details about the theatre’s plans for the summer.

“It’s a dark time because normally we have some dance shows. We have local community groups that rent the space out, particularly in May and June,” Winter said.

However, the summer is not the end-all, be-all. In fact, Winter explained that the Columbia is partnering up with theatre company Robin Hood Productions.

He said, “We’re putting together an evening of short, one-act plays in July in our conference center, and that is something that’s kind of co-produced by the Columbia Theatre and Robinhood Productions. This will be kind of an unusual summer, but we are going to offer something in July.”

Winter explained that the Columbia Theatre does not plan on having any summer camps this season, but said he hopes for more educational activities.

“I hope that under my leadership here we will have more educational things happening in the summer like summer theatre camps, but right now, we don’t,” he said. 

The theatre is also known to be quite versatile. Winter said that the Columbia Theatre will offer a variety of productivity.

He said, “Before I came here, I would say it’s a little bit of everything, and it will probably stay that way. We have dance shows and live concerts — both classical music and popular music. We have plays, musicals and operas. It’s kind of the whole spectrum. I am more of a theatre producer and director, so I think with me here, you’ll see more theatrical offerings. Maybe not quite as many concerts, but there will be some.”

In comparison to previous seasons, COVID-19 has not really affected the theatre because the summer is used for cleaning and preparing, according to Winter. 

He said that the theatre functions similarly to the school in that everything begins to boom again around mid-August when the university opens and more people are around the area. 

Surprisingly enough, COVID-19 has also not managed to greatly affect the theatre much in terms of sales, either. Winter said that “The Wizard of Oz” as well as the “Murder on the Marquee” dinner production did extremely well even with the virus at large. 

All upcoming events and productions will become available on