Curtains Up on One Long Island Theater as COVID-19 Restrictions Ease


April 16, 2021




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After a long year, Creative Ministries Performing Arts Center is ready to welcome back live audiences.

The nonprofit theater, located in Oakdale on the South Shore of Long Island, is the first to reopen after the pandemic stopped all productions last year.

When Governor Cuomo announced that arts and entertainment venues could reopen at 33% capacity with additional precautions in place, Creative Ministries Executive Director Alyse Arpino said the theater was ready to go.

“We kept preparing for reopening,” Arpino said. “That’s why we were able to jump in as quickly as we did, because we kept seeing the day of reopening.”

Even with Arpino and the Creative Ministries board of directors looking to the future, the theater found innovative ways to keep Long Islanders entertained.

A variety of live experiences were offered last summer and fall, including themed photo opportunities and interactive walkthroughs, virtual cabarets, industry classes, and even CDC-compliant outdoor performances.

But the pandemic isn’t over yet, so safety remains paramount.

The theater upgraded to a new air filtration system last year. In addition, hand sanitizing stations, temperature checks, and mask mandates for performers and audience members are all in place. 

“It’s not the audience member’s responsibility to feel comfortable coming to the theater,” said Joe Naftal, the theater’s treasurer. “It’s our responsibility as a theater to make them feel comfortable.”

Creative Ministries’ first full production, The Little Mermaid, is now open and runs through April 24. The theater’s board of directors encourages people to stop by to check out the new reopening procedures.

“It wasn’t just about reopening,” Arpino said. “It was about bringing everybody home.”

For more information on safety protocols or to purchase tickets to an upcoming performance, visit

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