Regional Spotlight: How Trinity Rep 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 Rhode Island's Trinity Rep, with Kate Brandt, Director of Marketing & Communications.
First of all, I want to check in on the health and wellbeing of everyone at Trinity Rep. How is everyone doing during this difficult time?
Fortunately, all of our staff and artists are healthy. While this is not an ideal situation for anyone, we're still meeting weekly, if not daily, checking-in on our coworkers, and continuing to support the theater from home.
What do the days look like right now for those who work at Trinity Rep?
It's different for every department. Our box office staff continues to work with ticket holders for this spring's cancelled performances, converting those ticket sales to donations or refunds. Our marketing and development teams are hard at work keeping communication open with the public, our patrons, and donors. Our costume department has been making masks for healthcare workers and those in need. Our acting company are creating content that we're sharing digitally from their homes, and the production and artistic staff are deep in preparing for next season.
How much planning is going on both short term and long term for the theater? What are the immediate plans for the theater, it's upcoming productions, and plans for the future months?
In normal times, this is the time of year when we are doing a lot of planning for the future - preparing to announce the upcoming season, lining up directors and designers, and making early casting decisions. And we're still doing all of that. We'll be announcing the 2020-21 Season on April 14. It is due to start in the fall and we are hopeful that we will be able to do that. We also hope to celebrate the fifth anniversary of our free, outdoor bilingual theater, Teatro en El Verano, this summer and make exciting theater with kids during our signature education program, Young Actors Summer Institute. First and foremost in our planning, however, is the health and safety of our audience, staff, and artists. So whatever plans need to be adapted will be adapted. Theater people are good at being nimble - sometimes that means adjusting when a fellow actor forgets a line on stage, sometimes that means implementing the contingency plan for the contingency plan because of public health emergencies. No matter what, Trinity Rep will be here when this is over, ready to share the irreplaceable live theater experience with our audience. So we're planning for the future and hoping the future gets here soon.
Do you have plans to bring any previously filmed productions/upcoming events/classes etc. online?
We were able to negotiate an agreement with the rights holders and unions representing our actors, stage managers, directors, and designers to offer a digital recording of A Tale of Two Cities to ticketholders whose performances were cancelled. We are introducing online classes for children and adults that have attracted a lot of interest. More can be found about that here: https://www.trinityrep.com/engagement/onlineclasses/
In general, we're more active than ever before online. We have an entire page of content, updated daily, here: https://www.trinityrep.com/theshowgoeson/. It includes readings from our acting company, clips from old shows, and writing from commissioned artists.
What is the best way for people to help Trinity Rep right now?
We had to cancel 83 performances, which is a hard burden to bear. We are committed to being here for our community, including our staff and artists, through this crisis and when it is over. There are several ways that people can help right now. Subscribing to next season or making a tax-deductible donation are two great ways to support Rhode Island's Tony Award-winning theater. We also really appreciate when our supporters spread the word about us to their friends and family, through sharing social media posts or just old-fashioned telling people about their positive experiences at the theater - even if the water cooler conversations are now taking place on Zoom!
Donate to the theatre here!