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New Jersey Theatre Alliance's Stages Online Offers Digital Content For All Ages During Difficult Times

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New Jersey Theatre Alliance has announced the launch of Stages Online. Stages Online is a digital platform for audiences to engage with virtual opportunities from New Jersey's professional theatres within the safety of their homes.

"As a community we are facing turbulent times. The Alliance is grateful for the partnership of our sponsors and the creativity of our member theatres as we promote and support the wide range of offerings our theatres are bringing to the homes of New Jersey audiences and beyond," said John McEwen, Executive Director of the Alliance.

The Stages Festival, typically held in the spring, is the Alliance's annual theatre festival that offers over 80 performances, workshops, classes, and events at theatres, art centers, libraries, schools, senior centers, and other community venues throughout the state. The program was developed to encourage New Jersey's residents to attend their local professional theatres by making the experience affordable, accessible, and fun. Adhering to the guidelines of local and federal government, all in-person Stages Festival events have been postponed until further notice. However, many theatres within the Alliance membership are creating innovative virtual opportunities to engage with audiences through Stages Online.

The program's Spotlight Sponsors are The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Bank of America, and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. Additional support is provided by OceanFirst Foundation, the George A. Ohl, Jr Trust, New Jersey Historical Commission, and Fund for the New Jersey Blind.

The following are a few Stages Online highlights. Most events are free but require registration. For a full listing of events, program details, and registration information visit www.njtheatrealliance.org/stages-online.

Theatre for Kids and Families:

Theatres are developing innovative opportunities to enhance online learning for students and families while at home. The Growing Stage: The Children's Theatre of New Jersey is offering TGS TV: Online Creative Arts, a free and easy online hub to incorporate theatre and the arts into your daily schedule of distance learning at home. Each week, The Growing Stage: The Children's Theatre of New Jersey will share a new theme with corresponding online and offline educational activities to enrich your child's learning experience and have a little fun too. George Street Playhouse is offering a four-part virtual residency to pre-K students. Each part features a short, original story and illustrations told both in English and Spanish, with accompanying activities for students and families to do at home. In addition to the residency, George Street Playhouse is also offering, along with much more digital content, Hello Sun Challenge for simple digital vocal and physical warmups.

Students are also invited to participate in McCarter Theatre Center's Creative Tuesdays every Tuesday at 4:00PM. Themes, classes, content, and age groups will vary each week. On June 1st, Paper Mill Playhouse will premiere Rising Stars Honors; a montage of school video submissions via Facebook Live of the shows that happened, or didn't happen, sharing highlights of their performances or rehearsals.

Although the tour of Shakespeare LIVE! from The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey ended early due to COVID19, STNJ has created video content, activity suggestions, study guides, and other prompts to aid in the teaching of Shakespeare. Theatre lovers are invited to view the virtual content of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Virtual Play Reading and Community Offerings:

In the face of COVID-19, Luna Stage Company presents Songs for Unsung Heroes. This original song cycle reflects the acts of kindness that transform our everyday lives. Illuminating the stories that weave our communities together, Secret Cities is Luna Stage's ongoing collaboration with local artists and community members to celebrate the rich history of the Oranges. New videos of Luna Stage's song cycle can be viewed on their website and social media channels every Monday.

Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre invites audiences to Meet The Artists: New Play Readings. This virtual play reading series is a chance for the audience to participate in the development of new works, both to hear the plays read by professional actors and also to discuss the projects with the playwright, director and actors afterward. The cohort of playwrights include Steve Harper, Tracey Jones, and Chandra Thomas (she opts for lowercase).

McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton will celebrate and kick-off Pride Month with a community reading and discussion of Execution of Justice by Emily Mann on May 22. Participants must register in advance if they wish to participate as a reader. The documentary play chronicles the murder trial of Dan White, who, in 1978, assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and openly-gay City Supervisor, Harvey Milk.

In keeping with its commitment to making theatre accessible, the Alliance strives to make Stages Online events accessible to all people with disabilities. If you require a specific accommodation for a Stages Online event, including ASL interpretation or open captioning, please contact Deonté Griffin-Quick at 973-731-6582 x 14 or dgiffin-quick@njtheatrealliance.org at least two weeks before the event.

For more information and a current listing of Stages Online events, please visit https://njtheatrealliance.org/stages-online



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