DalekoArts Finds New Way To Bring Theatre Into Homes With DALEKO HOME INVASION

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As many theaters seek to find ways to engage their audiences during COVID-19, DalekoArts, Le Sueur County's only professional theater found success with their "virtual theatre subscription box" concept.

Daleko Home Invasion is a series of curated theatrical events released four times over DalekoArts' 2020-21 season. The boxes - a Fall Box, a Holiday Box, a Winter Box, and a Spring Box -- will offer curated content over a 2-3 month time period, each containing between 10-15 experiential events and curated materials for audience members to watch, participate in, and enjoy with members of the DalekoArts team. Occurring on DalekoArts' YouTube page, every event will have a chat function, allowing audience members to interact with each other, share thoughts and ideas, or ask questions of an artist-moderator.

DalekoArts had announced its 9th season, dedicated entirely to the work of women playwrights, in March, the same weekend the state of Minnesota issued a stay-at-home order.

"It became quickly clear that this pandemic was an international crisis that would have a long-term impact on our ability and desire to gather in larger, closed-space venues," said Artistic Director, Amanda White. "For the foreseeable future, we know every theatre organization will be challenged to find solutions to sustainable, safe, healthy and creative theatre-making. At DalekoArts we are still called to our vision of creating theatre as a gathering tool for our community."

After spending some time working through alternative virtual ways in which the company might produce its already-announced season, White, along with co-founding Artistic Director Ben Thietje, Board President Patrick Kozicky, and the full DalekoArts artist Ensemble focused on ideation around the concept of a virtual season that would uphold its vision and mission.

"We knew we couldn't do justice to our season of all-women playwrights by simply reading their work together on a virtual call," says Thietje. "We are committed to our audiences experiencing those plays the way they're intended to be experienced -- on their feet, in our space, in person -- when we are able. We knew we wanted to continue to engage with our Daleko 'members'. So, we brainstormed with our team and asked ourselves which online membership models we all loved and why. Consistently, subscription boxes such as BirchBox, FabFitFun, Stitch Fix and BarkBox kept popping up. We all loved how these companies have created excitement and anticipation around the arrival of their regularly scheduled and curated packages. We were inspired and wondered what would happen if we created our own virtual 'box,' packed with all kinds of theatre, performances, and events that our audiences could watch at home?"

The company announced Daleko Home Invasion on Friday, June 12th. The result has been overwhelmingly positive - with almost 100 households subscribed by the next morning, and more than 80 Facebook shares of the promotional video.

"We're here to craft stories for our community, connect with them, give them ways to connect with each other, and to explore ways of living in our world," said White. "It's been surprising, and exciting, to see this idea supported by friends and artists from all over. It's not a replacement for shared theatrical experiences that theatre purists crave, but we do think it speaks to one of theatre's great strengths-human connection. We're hoping to make a new kind of space where people can grapple with big questions, or just laugh hard, together. This model opens up endless possibilities for supporting the work and stories of artists and communities unexplored in New Prague, and beyond. We can respond flexibly to what's happening in our country and the world. What a profound responsibility we have as theatre artists in this moment. What if the temporary removal of our geographic boundaries allows us to connect and share stories in wild
new ways?"

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