What kind of season are you planning for 2021?

As shared in President Michael Hill's recent update, we continue to plan a Summer Assembly that comes as close to the traditional Chautauqua experience as possible, while anticipating limitations to programs and venue usage due to capacity reductions and necessary health and safety procedures. As we await (and push for) firm guidance and regulations from state, federal and local government officials, we continue to consult experts, learn from the experience of industry colleagues, and observe and analyze government regulations concerning entities with operations similar to Chautauqua’s. These learnings alongside the evolving news concerning the virus and vaccines have informed a series of assumptions about what we might encounter this summer. Explore the menus above to view the weekly themes and confirmed events across our program areas. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up to receive 2021 announcements via email for frequent updates on program confirmations.


What should I anticipate in terms of COVID-19 protocols?

All Institution operations will meet, and in many cases exceed, federal, state and local regulations. Details of how these mandated policies and procedures will affect the patron experience will be shared as the season approaches, following more firm guidance from authorities. While it is too early in a time of ever-changing information to finalize protocols, we will make decisions in the coming weeks about certain issues including mask mandates, distancing, sanitizing and testing/vaccination.


What venues and amenities will be in operation?

We plan to use our open-air Amphitheater as the primary venue for major programs, though we anticipate patron capacity in this venue will need to be reduced to comply with guidelines. A temporary performance pavilion will be erected on Pratt Avenue to accommodate performing arts programs with comparatively smaller audiences, including opera and theater. Depending on program need, staff capacity and regulations, a few other Institution venues may be used as well. We expect that amenities and services will include at least all those in operation in 2020, including the Athenaeum Hotel, Plaza Market, Afterwords Café, Chautauqua Golf Club, Chautauqua Bookstore and the Gallery Store. We are in regular contact with our private on-grounds businesses and accommodations — including restaurants, shops, Chautauqua Cinema and denominational houses — and will provide updates throughout the spring on how they plan to operate.


What kinds of programs do you plan to present?

We are working to offer many of our major in-house programs to the broadest extent possible. To the extent offered, the schedule and how they are configured will reflect accommodations based on the latest health and safety regulations. This includes daily ecumenical services, the two primary lecture series from the departments of Education and Religion, popular shows, theater and opera productions, Massey Organ concerts, master classes and enrichment courses, and performances by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and students of the Schools of Performing and Visual Arts. Other traditional Chautauqua programs may appear primarily on the digital platforms of CHQ Assembly, including some Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle author discussions. Chautauqua’s Schools of Performing and Visual Arts will convene abridged and appropriately distanced training programs in dance, music and the visual arts. We’re also working with our volunteer community groups to explore how they might safely deliver some public programs this summer.

Planned 2021 Weekly Amphitheater Schedule
(Subject to change)
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
10:45 a.m. EDT Morning Worship 9 a.m. EDT Morning Worship 9 a.m. EDT Morning Worship 9 a.m. EDT Morning Worship 9 a.m. EDT Morning Worship 9 a.m. EDT Morning Worship
  10:30 a.m. EDT Chautauqua Lecture Series 10:30 a.m. EDT Chautauqua Lecture Series 10:30 a.m. EDT Chautauqua Lecture Series 10:30 a.m. EDT Chautauqua Lecture Series Masterclass (not in Amp)  
 Afternoon Program TBD  1 p.m. EDT Interfaith Lecture Series 1 p.m. EDT Interfaith Lecture Series 1 p.m. EDT Interfaith Lecture Series Rehearsal or Entertainment Load-In Rehearsal or Entertainment Load-In Afternoon Program TBD 
  Rehearsal Rehearsal Rehearsal      
Sacred Song Service Evening Chautauqua Entertainment Evening Chautauqua Entertainment Evening Chautauqua or Popular Entertainment Evening Chautauqua or Popular Entertainment Evening Chautauqua or Popular Entertainment Evening Chautauqua or Popular Entertainment  

What are my options for purchasing a pass in 2021?

There will be three primary pathways to the Chautauqua experience in 2021:

  • Traditional Gate Pass: This pass provides access to the grounds and all programming in the Chautauqua Amphitheater except up to two “popular entertainment” programs each week that would require the purchase of an extra ticket. Traditional Gate Pass purchasers will be given the first opportunity to purchase tickets to the popular entertainment events they wish to attend. To benefit from this “first to purchase” option, we encourage purchasing Traditional Gate Passes prior to May. Single ticket sales are likely to begin in May.
  • Grounds Access Pass: This pass provides access to the grounds, amenities and lawn seating for programs presented in the performance pavilion, with the option to purchase tickets to Amphitheater events of interest, in an a la carte fashion.
    • Both Traditional and Grounds Access Passes come with one complimentary month of CHQ Assembly for both new and existing subscribers. A promotional code will be provided in May.
    • Both Traditional and Grounds Access Pass holders are welcome to enjoy lawn seating at no additional cost for Opera and Theater events, space permitting and on a first-come basis. (Some preferred, reserved seating in the pavilion will be available at an additional cost.)
  • Day Pass: Patrons will be welcome to purchase day or partial day passes, just as in the past. These passes include all programming in the Amphitheater.

When do ticket sales begin and how much will they cost?

Ticket sales for long-term passes opened in early February. Day passes and single-event ticket sales are expected to begin in May, when we have a clearer picture of expected regulations. On-sale dates for classes, theater, opera and family and youth programs are to be determined. The 2021 fee structure is available at chq.org/rates. More rates will be added to this listing as fees are determined. Single-ticket popular entertainment events will vary by program.


What youth programs do you plan to offer?

We are currently planning to offer Chautauqua’s traditional Youth and Family Programs (Children’s School, Group One, Boys’ and Girls’ Club), with modifications to accommodate anticipated federal, state and local regulations to ensure the health and safety of the children and staff. These modifications will include reduced group sizes, changes to program structure, and optimization of outdoor space and time to ensure safety and compliance with New York state regulations. We will do all we can to curate an experience as “normal” as possible. At the same time, children and families should expect some of the same participation requirements they have honored in their home schools and other group programs, including the requirement of face masks and heightened attention to handwashing and other hygiene practices. We also hope to continue cherished traditions such as Air Band, the Fourth of July Parade, and special days at Club, to the extent we are permitted and able.


What is “popular entertainment” and why do passes not include it?

Popular entertainment events are those that typically draw larger crowds including but not limited to concerts, lectures or other performances by well-known artists or speakers. Examples from past seasons include Sheryl Crow, Ira Glass, and Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The modified gate pass structure will help us manage access to our venues, particularly for these traditionally large-draw programs, during a season in which we anticipate venue capacity to be reduced by law.


Do you still offer complimentary passes for patrons aged 90 and older, 12 and younger, or of active military status?

Yes, Chautauquans in those groups should provide requisite identification and will receive a complimentary Traditional Gate Pass. Popular entertainment tickets must be purchased separately.


Is the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra considered “popular entertainment”?

If circumstances permit the ensemble to perform, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra concerts are among the offerings included with the Traditional Gate Pass and would not require a separate purchase for holders of that pass, except in the case of a special “film concert” such as “Harry Potter” or “Star Wars,” to use examples from past seasons. Click here for more information regarding plans for the CSO's 2021 season.