Items Types:
For Meeting of:
November 9, 2020
District: ALL From:
Contract ID: Document Number:
Exhibits: Yes On File (City Clerk) : Yes Draft Only: No
Grant Received by City?: No

Fee Waiver for Orlando Shakespeare Theatre Spring Season at the Lake Eola Amphitheatre


To prevent transmission of COVID-19, arts venues throughout our community, including Orlando Shakes, had to make drastic changes to their operations. With live stage performances interrupted, Orlando Shakes took steps to become as lean as possible to preserve financial health. More than 35 employees were laid off, and 40 seasonal contracts terminated. To the extent feasible, programming was creatively adapted to a virtual format.

The board and staff of Orlando Shakes have now developed a plan to return to the stage (i.e. live theater performances) in 2021. To do so, they must develop a safe way to perform. 

To this end, Orlando Shakes seeks to rent the Lake Eola Amphitheatre for its' Spring season during the period of March 15 to May 25, 2021. During the first half of the season, Shakes will present 10 evening performances and 9 matinee performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream. During the second half of the season, Shakes will present 12 evening performances and 7 matinee performances of Little Shop of Horrors. Orlando Shakes will also rent the stage for additional days in order to load in and load out sets, hold rehearsals, and stage preview performances.

Orlando Shakes will create a safe environment during rehearsals and performances, adhering to all City and CDC requirements, including social distancing, hand-washing, mask-wearing, and other safety measures. Sanitization stations will be located throughout the amphitheater, audience, backstage, and surrounds. Masks will be worn by all patrons and staff, touch free ticketing and digital programs will be utilized along with socially distanced seating and queueing, cutting the Amphitheatre's capacity by 50 percent.

The rental of the Lake Eola Amphitheatre by Orlando Shakes is contingent upon approval via the City's 18A permitting process, which includes a comprehensive review of the organization's plan to prevent COVID-19 transmission throughout the event.

Total rental fees to host Orlando Shakes' spring season at the Lake Eola Amphitheatre is $122,925, a prohibitive amount given the organization's budgetary constraints, especially as it tries to recover from the shut down of its' operations. Of this amount, $41,100 are actual expenses incurred by the City to cover the cost of stage crews the City contracts with, at $50/hour, to manage the Amphitheatre's audio-visual systems. The remaining $81,825 is the rental fee of $125/hour for the number of hours Orlando Shakes will use the Amphitheatre for load in, load out, rehearsals, previews, and performances.

Spring season performances will result in a return to work for Orlando Shakes' 30 full-time employees and contracts with more than 75 artists and craftspeople who are struggling from lack of employment.  For this reason, we recommend a fee waiver of up to $80,325 for Orlando Shakes' rental of the Lake Eola Amphitheatre. This can be supplemented by an additional $1,500 should Orlando Shakes present a successful request for funding to the Families, Parks and Recreation Board.

If this waiver is approved, Orlando Shakes will pay the difference of $41,100 to the City, to cover actual costs incurred by the City to staff the Amphitheatre with city-contracted stage crews during performances.

FPR traditionally seeks City Council approval for fee waivers that exceed $50,000, and is thus seeking Council approval of this waiver. To this end, by approving this agenda item, the Orlando City Council agrees to waive up to $80,325 in rental costs for Orlando Shakes' spring season at the Lake Eola Amphitheatre.

Orlando Shakes has committed to contributing up to 500 tickets to the Families, Parks and Recreation Department to distribute to low income City children, so they can attend these performances. In addition, the proposed rental schedule has been adapted to minimize interference with any other events that have traditionally taken place at Lake Eola Park during the spring.

Fiscal & Efficiency Data: Fiscal impact statement is attached.

Recommended Action:
Approving a fee waiver in the amount of $80,325 for Orlando Shakes' rental of the Lake Eola Amphitheatre, for its Spring season, during the period of March 15 to May 25, 2021.

Agenda Item attachment(s) on file in the City Clerks Office.

Note: All agenda items must be in the City Clerk's office by Noon Friday, six(6) business days prior to the regular Monday City Council meeting.

Contact: Lisa Early,
Approved By:

Department Date and Time
Budget Outside Routing Approval 10/29/2020 6:33 PM
City Clerk 10/30/2020 11:29 AM
Budget Outside Routing Approval 10/30/2020 11:17 AM
City Clerk 10/30/2020 11:29 AM

Name: Description: Type:
FIS_Orlando_Shakes_Fee_Waiver_2021.docx Fiscal Impact Statement Backup Material
Orlando_Shakes_Spring_Season_at_the_Amphitheatre.pdf Orlando Shakes Proposal Backup Material

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