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School of Theatre & Dance Fall 2020 Production Plan

Last Updated: August 19, 2020
Contact: Joshua Williamson, Director, School of Theatre & Dance, joshua.williamson@mail.wvu.edu

As the beginning of the semester nears, the usual excitement of starting classes and a new production season has been dampened with the anxiety and apprehension of working in the performing arts amid a pandemic. We, the faculty in the School of Theatre & Dance, have been closely monitoring the situation and listening carefully to health officials and industry professionals.

 

Following careful consideration of the recommendations from the Screen Actors’ Guild, Actors’ Equity Association, and IATSE, and with the most up-to-date information about the COVID-19 pandemic from University officials, we are further modifying the School’s production season in an effort to ensure people’s safety and deliver a sound educational experience. These changes come after many long discussions with faculty and administrators on how best to move forward. This is a constantly changing situation. Additional changes are likely as we move into fall semester.

 

The following changes will be implemented this week:

 

  1. The October production of Rent will continue to move forward in a manner compliant with proper physical distancing and mask wearing practices. The show’s creative team is hard at work developing a concert version of the show. We will be keeping the rehearsal and performance schedule flexible right now as we all get accustomed to wearing masks in the classrooms and studios. If local health conditions are deemed too risky to continue, we will suspend the rehearsal process. Once conditions improve, we will resume rehearsals and production and plan a new time to perform the show.
  2. King Lear will also move forward in the fall semester with the first several weeks of rehearsal conducted in a virtual format. The filming of King Lear by West Virginia Public Broadcasting is planned to begin in early November.  However, if public health conditions warrant, we will suspend filming until conditions improve or until we get access to more accurate and faster testing. We have removed the filming deadline to permit the process to advance in a responsible manner, even if that means filming resumes in the spring semester.
  3. Celebration of Dance will be a virtual concert. Dr. Kaddar will provide additional information once the semester begins about participating in this concert. All rehearsals and performances will require masks and proper physical distancing.
  4. Dance Now! will be postponed and offered in an alternative format in the spring semester.
  5. Dance Nation and Sweet Charity, both planned for the spring, will be postponed to the 2021-2022 season.
  6. The Youth Acting Academy has been cancelled for the year.

Also, the following (previously announced on July 13, 2020) will remain in place:

  1. The Discovery Series performances in the Falbo Theatre are cancelled for the fall semester.
  2. The LAB Theatre program, previously suspended for the fall semester, is now cancelled for the year.
  3. The Advanced Directing class, and the subsequent performances, have been cancelled for the fall semester.
  4. All WVU personnel will be required to wear a face covering at all times when inside. Students with legitimate medical conditions that would prevent compliance with this mandate are asked to meet with the Office of Accessibility Services for an assessment.
  5. BFA and MFA actors and musical theatre students (Studio Program) are typically required to audition for the mainstage productions. Students may elect to opt out of the audition process for this year only.
  6. Dance majors should speak with Dr. Kaddar, Director of the Dance Program, for audition planning and scheduling information for Celebration of Dance and Dance Now.
  7.  Students needing to complete practicums such as THET 200/400 and DANC 200/300 will be permitted to substitute other DANC or THET coursework in lieu of these practicum credits. Students should discuss this requirement with their academic advisors at the start of the fall semester.

In summation, as a School, we will focus on the process and not the product. Rent, King Lear, and a dance concert will be our production projects for the year. Should circumstances dramatically improve as the fall semester ends, we will certainly consider expanding our production season. But as of today, we will remain with the two projects already underway and produce a physically distant dance concert.

 

Theatre and dance artists are inherently adaptable, flexible, and creative. The conditions that the pandemic present us with will challenge these assertions and traits like never before. Flexibility and patience will be our saviors this year.

 

Stay safe, stay apart, and wear your mask.

 

Thank you all for your continued patience and understanding and, most of all, your cooperation.

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