Theatre South Playhouse Keeps Professional Artists and Kids Engaged in Theatre Through Online Programming
When Theatre South Playhouse located in Orlando, Florida was forced to close their doors this March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the theatre company had to quickly reinvent how they did theatre. With their spring and summer professional and youth shows either cancelled or postponed, the group quickly looked for another outlet to offer their artists and students. "What started as a fun escape from quarantine, has turned into a nation wide weekly event", says Hillary Brook, the Theatre's Executive Director.
TSP's Quarantine Play Club uses plays and screenplay readings as away to keep their artists and audiences still engaged in live theater. For the past 4 weeks, the group has proved that the show does in fact go on...line! With play reading clubs both for professionals and for students there is something for everyone. The group studies their scripts during the week and then does a quick 1 hour rehearsal in their Zoom room. They group then does a final reading performance, and if the play is public domain then it's showtime, and they live stream the reading on their Facebook page.
From Oscar Wilde to Shakespeare, the group has been exploring titles that they normally wouldn't produce. Besides for one or two benefit play-readings a year, the theatre company primarily does musicals. Hillary explained, "But with the technology not being ready to support real-time musical rehearsals and presentations without a lag, we decided that straight plays and comedies were the way to go!", Brook tells us. "And, it's been a joyful surprise to see how much the kids are especially loving the play readings. For years I've been trying to get our younger students intersted in Shakespeare, and now, with this new world of quarantine, they can't get enough of it!"
The group plans to turn the play club into a Play-of-The-Week-Camp for it's students until it is safe to gather in groups again and continue the weekly play reads for the adults even after they reopen their doors again.
The Theatre quickly turned all of its programming virtual in mid March, including its popular Academic Conservatory program and all their weekly public classes and workshops. The group is also rehearsing "The Percy Project" an all online teen concert as well as this Tuesday night's "Give A Song, Save A Theater" event featuring performances nation wide from professionals and students from the local theatre. The event will be streamed live on the TSP Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theatresouthPlayhouse/ to raise much needed funds to cover the Theater's rent expenses on #GivingTuesday at 7pm.
For more information about how to get involved in Theatre South Playhouse's Play Club or other Playhouse events please visit www.TheatreSouthPlayhouse.org.