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Regional Spotlight: How Riverside Theatres is Working Through the Global Health Crisis

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Regional Spotlight: How Riverside Theatres 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're checking in with Riverside Theatres! We chatted with director Robert Love.

First of all, I want to check in on the health and wellbeing of everyone at Riverside Theatres. How is everyone doing during this difficult time?

Of course the initial shock of closing was dispiriting but we quickly regained our "can do" mojo. Morale and motivation for those fortunate enough to still be working is high. Sadly, our front of house and backstage casual staff are no longer coming into work but remain cherished members of our Riverside family and we look forward to welcoming them back when we go "live" again.

What do the days look like right now for those who work at Riverside?

While our foyers and stages have been empty, our small band of permanent and temporary programing, marketing, box office, business and finance staff are mostly working from home with some staff still working out of Riverside. Days are very busy with remote meetings, refunds, future planning for when we welcome back our audiences to Riverside and in the interim implementing Riverside Theatres Digital.

How much planning is going on both short term and long term for the theatre?

We have been rescheduling 2020 COVID cancellations and adding new program as far forward as 2022. Packemein's We Will Rock You has been rescheduled to February 12 - 27.

We have reinvented ourselves and pirouetted into digital on-line delivery, launching with four wonderful concerts starting 5.00pm Sunday 31 May with plans for more July to September.

We wanted to create, in a small way, the experience of buying your ticket and being in your seat at showtime, so these concerts will stream live from Riverside Theatre for one performance only.

Do you have plans to bring any previously filmed productions/upcoming events/classes etc. online?

We are working through how we can make available past Riverside's National Theatre of Parramatta productions. NtofP is running a number of activities remotely such as "Creative Hello" and its creative pitch sessions. We also have plans for some teaching and mentoring on-line programs. Riverside Education was recently commissioned to shoot two videos about technical theatre and customer service at the box office for the Department of Education VET Entertainment course.

What is the best way for people to help Riverside right now?

Well we would love people to buy a ticket to one of our Riverside Theatres Digital Concerts, because importantly you will be directly keeping our wonderful performers in work at a time when performing artists are experiencing considerable loss of income.

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From This Author Stephi Wild