Regional Spotlight: How Huntington 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 Boston's Huntington Theatre Company.
First of all, I want to check in on the health and well-being of everyone at Huntington Theatre Company. How is everyone doing during this difficult time?
We at the Huntington are safely ensconced in our homes and are doing okay. We are passionate about theatre, of course, and look forward to the time when we can gather again.
What do the days look like right now for those who work at Huntington Theatre Company?
All of our venues, shops and offices are closed, and so Huntington staff members who can are working from home. We, like everyone, spend a lot of our time on Zoom! Though our theatre doors are currently closed, we remain very busy planning for next season and engaging with our audiences and patrons: our education department has been creating an amazing series of online classes and programs called Huntington @ HomeSchool, our artistic department is engaging with patrons via our Huntington @ Home programs, marketing and ticketing are in frequent communication with our patrons, development is busily readying our upcoming virtual gala, and our costume department has been making masks for our staff and local essential workers. We've also had regular all-staff meetings (on Zoom), staff cocktails hours (called Huntington Off-Off Stage), and theatre trivia nights.
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.
We had planned to start performances for the season in July - the earliest start to a season in our history! - but of course, we have revised those plans and pushed back those dates. We are in the midst of scenario planning right now and weighing the options of when to start again, and are waiting to hear from our local officials about when we might be permitted to host larger gatherings again. We're in close communication with colleagues, too, about developing protocols for a safe return to the office, rehearsal room, and theatre for our staff, artists, and audiences.
Do you have plans to bring any previously filmed productions/upcoming events/classes etc. online?
Yes! We have created a robust series of classes both for youth and adults in our Huntington@HomeSchool series, ranging from audition workshops to Shakespeare, figure drawing, lighting and projections, and more. We also had our production of Mala by the Huntington's Artist-in-Residence Melinda Lopez broadcast and streamed with our partners at WGBH and ArtsEmerson. Coming up we will have a virtual gala with our Spotlight Spectacular on June 15, honoring Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Huntington Trustee Sandra Moose, and have commissioned audio plays from some of our Huntington Playwriting Fellows.
What is the best way for people to help Huntington Theatre Company right now?
The best way for people to help the Huntington right now is to make a donation or subscribe to our upcoming season. A donation or subscription purchase is both an investment in a hopeful future where we can all be entertained and moved in a theatre once again, and an investment in the Huntington's future and long-term health. We're so grateful to our incredibly loyal subscribers and donors and appreciate their support!