NORFOLK, Va. - Over 20 years, Jeni Schaefer has sketched, sourced and created countless costumes, transporting an audience to a time and place they may have never known.
But for the last 17 months, the Resident Costume Designer for the Virginia Stage Company hasn't really been able to do the job she loves.
Finally...a comeback is in sight.
"I'm really looking forward to being able to sit down and create an original design again," Schaefer, who also serves as Interim Associate Artistic Director, told News 3 inside the Wells Theatre.
The magnificent, century-old performing arts venue is where the Virginia Stage Company, the region's largest producer of professional theater, calls home.
This October it will be back at full capacity once again with full productions.
"We do (plays) 'Dear Jack, Dear Louise' and 'Hold These Truths' and then we have 'A Christmas Carol' coming up," said Tom Quaintance, Producing Artistic Director for the Virginia Stage Company.
Since shutting down in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Quaintance says the company has gotten creative with virtual performances and camps along with outdoor shows and a special, socially-distanced version of "A Christmas Carol" inside the Wells in December.
But it's not the same, especially for individuals whose full-time job revolves around the performing arts.
"It's been hard running a theater the last year and a half but it's nothing like being an independent artist," said Quaintance.
That's a big reason why he's so excited for live theater to make its return.
Saturday, June 12, the Virginia Stage Company is hosting its annual gala to fundraise and reveal the rest of the 2021-22 season. The gala will be in-person at the Wells Theatre and streamed online.
Of the coming season, Quaintance offers a hint at what audiences can expect.
"The theme of this season has to do with brilliance. We're going to ask our audience to come up with those brilliant things they love about the theater, they love about our community and that's going to be the theme going through the year," he said.
For Schaefer, the new season can't come soon enough.
"We miss you and we can't wait to bring you home," she said.
Click HERE for ticket information about the Virginia Stage Company's Set the Stage Annual Gala.