Regional Spotlight: How Kansas City Public Theatre 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 Kansas City Public Theatre with Executive Artistic Director Elizabeth Bettendorf Bowman.
First of all, I want to check in on the health and well-being of everyone at Kansas City Public Theatre. How is everyone doing during this difficult time?
We're holding up! Nathan [Bowman, Producing Artistic Director] and I are making sure to stay healthy and to social distance. We're expecting our first child in about a month! Our board of directors are staying home and so far are staying healthy as well!
What do the days look like right now for those who work at Kansas City Public Theatre?
Lot's of emailing! We're holding our regular meetings and rehearsing with actors for our online programming via Zoom.
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 are fortunate in that our overall business plan doesn't rely on ticket sales. While in the long run it's more administrative work, in this worst case scenario the arts scene is facing, we are in a place where we can pick up where we left off. We did have to cancel our final Main Stage of the season, A Dream Play, but we are looking into rescheduling it. We have a couple of new projects for next season that are still in the works. We are hoping to be able to announce them soon, but it's difficult when everyone's plans for this season got upended.
Do you have plans to bring any previously filmed productions/upcoming events/classes etc. online?
Yes! We've moved our monthly Theatre Lab series online. On Monday April 6th we streamed our first online project "Oh God, Really?!" an online devised play project. 30 playwrights each spent an hour contributing to 1 single play. The results are sure to put a smile on your face. Our next online Theatre Lab is Monday, May 4 where a group of actors will read a selection of 10-minute plays by local playwrights.
What is the best way for people to help Kansas City Public Theatre right now?
The best way for people to help out right now is by sharing more information about our online programming, inviting friends to follow us on social media, and of course, donations via our website are appreciated.