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BWW Blog: The Need for Virtual Theatre

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As of today, it has been four months since I have sat in a theatre and witnessed a live theatre production, four months since I have worked on a live theatre production, and around four months since the last time anyone has stepped on a New York Stage. Two weeks ago, it was announced that Broadway will remain closed for the remainder of 2020 along with many regional theatres that have announced the cancelation of the rest of their 2020 season. This announcement while not surprising (as many predicted this would be the case weeks ago) is devastating to artists and theatre fans alike. Also, two weeks ago, the Dance Department in which my major is housed announced that both of the major dance productions will not be taking place this fall. This decision, while heartbreaking to me, is the safest and best call on the part of the leadership of the department. With these announcements comes the big question: How do we keep the arts alive?

The arts community must come together and find a way to create virtual theatre until we can all gather in the physical theatre again. Some recent examples of virtual theater include: theatre companies across the nation doing play readings via Zoom, major organizations like the Met Opera in New York streaming recordings of previous productions, theatres creating virtual cabarets made up of a series of pre-recorded numbers, and of course, Hamilton being released on Disney. These are a great start, but with no theatre (in the traditional sense) happening for the rest of the year, it has become evident that something similar to a live theatre experience needs to be emulated virtually.

Over the past few days I have seen some theatres and artists come to this realization. On July 1, LW Theatres in the UK announced they are staging a virtual production of Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World later this month. My cousin also sent me a TikTok the other day about a new virtual theatre company called The Masked Collective that is virtually staging a brand-new musical in early August. With these productions setting a precedent for fully virtualized productions it could change how we are able to keep the arts alive and thriving as well as help artists all across the country who are struggling because of theatre being shut down until 2021. I also think being able to do virtual theatre on a larger scale will make theatre accessible to more people as well as finding ways to tell stories we already know and love in a way we never could have imagined before this pandemic.

While I am extremely devastated that the Great Bright Way and many theatres nationwide will remain dark for the rest of the year, I know that live theatre will be back and better than ever when it is safe to do so. I also can't wait to see how the arts community comes together creatively during this time to create new art and keep the arts thriving. For information on The Masked Collective and their upcoming production follow them on instagram (@themaskedcollective) and go to for more information on LW Theatres production of Songs for A New World this week as well as upcoming events

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From This Author Student Blogger: Torie Brown