Regional Spotlight: How Theatre Rhinoceros 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 San Francisco's Theatre Rhinoceros.
First of all, I want to check in on the health and well-being of everyone at Theatre Rhinoceros. How is everyone doing during this difficult time?
Rhino staff is working from home, and in daily contact by phone and email. We are also holding Board meetings via Zoom. No reported health problems, thus far.
What do the days look like right now for those who work at Theatre Rhinoceros?
We are still working the same number of hours, sometimes more when we have a weekend online performance. Generally, we try to respect the number of hours a staff person is paid for and not expect extra (something that is difficult in theatre culture).
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.
For the short term, we are producing online events (via Zoom and Facebook Live), learning as we go. Our audiences have been very patient and supportive as we deal with our technical learning curve as we are delivering content. For the long term, we have kept plans in place, knowing that they may need to be altered, depending on how San Francisco, California, the U.S., etc. proceed as we come out of this. We have confirmed the space we had planned for our June show (knowing that we may need to push it later in the summer), as well as for two of our productions for Fall 2020 and January 2021. So, we are not cancelling anything in the longer term, but are ready to be flexible, depending on whatever "back to normal" looks like.
Do you have plans to bring any previously filmed productions/upcoming events/classes etc. online?
We only had one production (Radical, which had just started an extension when shelter-in-place went into effect) that was taped and ready to go online. It can be accessed through our website. We have since produced several events online (mostly staged readings and solo performances), which we record and make available to viewers after the initial live broadcast.
What is the best way for people to help Theatre Rhinoceros right now?
Donations, of course, are always appreciated. Beyond that, keeping aware of what we are doing and attending events that look interesting to them is a great boon. We keep our website (www.therhino.org) updated and send out e-blasts a couple of times a week (folks can send a message via the website to be added to our email list). We have one or two online events each week- Just having people be aware of them and attending (most are free) is great for our morale.