Regional Spotlight: How Arizona Theatre Company is Working Through The Global Health Crisis
Now more than ever it is important to support theater and do our part to keep the art form that we love so much alive and as thriving as it can be during these unprecedented times. While the global health crisis has temporarily put the theater world on hold, pausing all live performances and large gatherings to help stop the spread of COVID-19, theaters around the country have taken a hit. During this time of adjusting to our temporary new normal, theaters are figuring out how to take care of their team, and discovering the best ways to virtually bring theater to audiences.
Through our regional theater interview series, we are checking in with theaters all around the country, talking to them about how they are handling these difficult circumstances, learning what they are doing to move forward, and discovering the best way for people to help regional theaters during this time.
Today we shine a spotlight on Arizona Theatre Company with Managing Director Designee, Geri Wright.
First of all, I want to check in on the health and well-being of everyone at Arizona Theatre Company. How is everyone doing during this difficult time?
We are all adjusting to the new reality of working remotely, some better than others. Having said that, everyone is healthy and working hard to move Arizona Theatre Company through this challenging time.
What do the days look like right now for those who work at Arizona Theatre Company?
We're trying to find our footing and find some sense of normalcy. The hours/days blend together and the work ethic of staff is through the roof! We're working to find that balance and stay connected. Since we are not in production on stage, we are using the virtual stage ie: social media, website, email to communicate and create artistic content.
How much planning is going on both short term and long term for the theater? I would like to hear about the immediate plans for the theater, it's upcoming productions etc., and what the theater is hoping/planning for in future months.
There's quite a bit of planning happening behind the scenes. We're looking at varying scenarios for the 20/21 season, not only when it opens, but how and what does that look like? The financial "what ifs" are substantial and all we can do is consider each option and what our response would be. The next 60 days will give us more information and hopefully we'll be able to have a clearer picture. We all know that whenever the season opens, we have to address the fact that we just went through this time in our lives and try to make patrons feel safe and taken care of when they come to the theatre. We're working right now to determine what that looks like.
Do you have plans to bring any previously filmed productions/upcoming events/classes etc. online?
We just finished streaming The Legend Of Georgia McBride for patrons. That show opened and closed on March 13, when we put our season on hiatus. It was a great success. In addition, we have created a great deal of content that is being distributed on our website, email and social media platforms to keep patrons and the public engaged with Arizona Theatre Company. For example, ATCteen for student 13-19 years of age has been adapted and moved online. For example, programming for ATCteen weekly classes (playwriting, acting, dance, etc ...), Playreader's Club (students choose a play to read), or Private Coaching is all continuing. Additionally we've created general Arizona Theatre Company content and grouped them into various "rooms" on our website for access. Each has a different focus area. For example, The Blackbox Room is for play readings or online workshops of plays and musicals, and The Green Room is for conversations with national and local artists and friends.
What is the best way for people to help Arizona Theatre Company right now?
The best way for people to help Arizona Theatre Company is to engage with us online, continue the conversation regarding theatrical art form and keep that fire burning until we return to the stage! Another way to help is if you hold a ticket from a show that was paused, please consider turning that into a contribution. And of course, without being in production and not knowing exactly when the 20/21 season will launch, cash flow is a challenge. Contributions of any sort and gratefully accepted!