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How Philadelphia Non-Profit Shakespeare In Clark Park Never Stopped Bringing Live Arts To The Community

In October 2020, SCP produced a modern twist on the medieval tale of EVERYMAN that was performed LIVE and in-person 15 times on a West Philadelphia Tour.

How Philadelphia Non-Profit Shakespeare In Clark Park Never Stopped Bringing Live Arts To The Community

While the world shifted to the digital sphere in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Shakespeare in Clark Park adapted and overcame in a way that allowed them to continue to provide safe, innovative, in-person theatre all pandemic long.

In October 2020, SCP produced a modern twist on the medieval tale of EVERYMAN that was performed LIVE and in-person 15 times on a West Philadelphia Tour. Their performance space was a "Pageant Wagon," a converted trailer with alterations and set design led by Curio Theatre's Paul Kuhn. SCP Artistic Director, Kittson O'Neill co-directed with Ang Bey (also lead writer) and used an ensemble of devisers to transform the ancient morality play into a modern satire that speaks directly to the overwhelming pandemic moment and the racial justice reckoning that surged along with it.

But how were they able to perform safely for a live audience? After months of planning with the Public Health Department, extensive protocols were put into place. Well, the production incorporated extensive health restrictions into the creative process itself. The cast (Karen Getz, Ebony Pullum, Katrina Hall, Cameron Del Grosso, Ezra Ali-Dow, Marisol Rosa-Shapiro and James Whitfield) wore masks, streets and sidewalks were marked for socially distant viewing, and audiences were strictly limited to 25. The event was a roaring success, and a recording of all the fun can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlYhCMwffSc

This isn't the end of the Pageant Wagon! Currently, Hedgerow Theatre Company in Media, PA is using the new performance "venue" to present an outdoor production of Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Lisa Villamill (who you just might see with SCP this summer).

If that wasn't enough, SCP is also continuing to develop their community-generated projects which will result in public presentations this summer. The Park Plays are original shows created by members of the community in two new locations, Harrowgate Park in Kensington and Vernon Park in Germantown. Both are inspired by the Clark Park anchor show, PERICLES, directed by Carly Bodnar. SCP is thrilled to expand their reach beyond West Philadelphia, and to do so safely. Similar safety protocols will be in place for these summer endeavors, with crowds required to register in advance and engage in socially distant viewing.

Sound like fun? For details and the most up-to-date information on how to register for your spot at these performances, visit http://www.shakespeareinclarkpark.org/.


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