HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – For the last 20 years, Theatrix Hawaii has been bringing productions to life.
“We do event management, event production, lighting, sound, video, rigging, staging decor, kind of a little bit of everything,” said Jack Hufstetler, who owns Theatrix Hawaii with his wife, Marlina.
“Most of what we focus on is corporate events and concerts.”
Indoor, outdoor, day and night, Theatrix could make it happen ― and up until the coronavirus pandemic closed the curtain on events in mid-March, the company planned for its busiest season ever.
“Just in a matter of days, all of it just went away,” Marlina Hufstetler said.
The Hufstetlers estimate the company has lost about $4 million worth of work since the pandemic started and that financial drop resulted in layoffs for all 30 of Theatrix’s employees.
“Having to tell them, ‘I’m sorry we have no work,’ it’s really hard,” Marlina Hufstetler said.
“Making those decisions and knowing how it’s going to affect them and not being able to tell them when and if work is gonna come back, for me, that was the hardest thing.”
The frustration of trying to navigate through the unknown as the slowdown in this corporate travel and entertainment industry could last longer than shelter-in place restrictions.
“So if the state opens in October, we’re not going to see any work until about January before the shows actually start rolling back,” Jack Hufstetler said.
“A lot of my clients have been cancelling shows in January because they don’t think, they don’t understand where the state is gonna be and they can’t get a definitive answer from the state as to when they are gonna open.”
If restrictions continue, he estimates his business will only have six months left before having to close down permanently. In the meantime, Theatrix has been exploring ways to adapt with more virtual alternatives because that may be the new standard for events, industry wide.
“It’s just trying to find ways to work with what you got and work within the limitations that we have, which right now of course are really hard,” Marlina Hufstetler said.
“But as those things, slowly hopefully ease up, that we can find a way to work with that.”
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