ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico‘s Popejoy Hall has been shut down throughout the pandemic but now it’s looking to make a comeback, with safety practices in mind. There has been silence in the halls for over a year but like everything else, it’s time to start to get back to normal.

“It’s been an interesting journey to be a year later,” said Director of Popejoy Hall, Tom Tkach. Tkach announced Popejoy Hall will reopen as early as December of 2021.

“From the beginning, I’ve been on weekly calls. Everything has been discussed from plexiglass barriers to bubbles for the orchestra,” said Tkach. Instead, they went with podiums and mobile ticketing scanners as well as screens monitoring guests for symptoms before they enter.

While some stuff is still up in the air, the decision to reopen needed to be made now in order to book shows on time. “We did lose one show ‘Hairspray’ but we replaced it with ‘Mean Girls’,” said Tkach. ‘Mean Girls’ will kick-off the schedule with seven performances.

“The planning for tours are right now, this doesn’t happen a week out or a month out it’s months out,” said Tkach. The theater, like many others, faces a long road ahead of them under current state guidelines.

“You plan and then you plan again it’s been an interesting process. I’ve never encountered in my 30 years in the business I’ve never encountered anything like this before,” said Tkach. For everyone at Popejoy, the work is worth it in order to bring shows back.

“They want to see Popejoy open again, they want to come back together they want to have the experience of attending live performances,” said Tkach. They have a few spots to fill on the schedule still but they were able to re-book ‘Hamilton’ for 24 performances. Those tickets go on sale this fall.