One by one, theaters announced late last week that they would be closed for the foreseeable future in compliance with Coronavirus recommendations. It is a stunning and unprecedented time in American theater and as a new week begins with nary a theater open in the DC-region, arts institutions are regrouping and finding ways to keep going… virtually.
The following arts organizations have announced online activities. We began compiling this list on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, and we will continue to update it as more information comes in. If you have an online event that you want to be included on this list please leave your information in the comments section. The list was last updated at 10:00 pm on March 19th.
4615 THEATRE COMPANY: THE 4615 EP SERIES
4615 Theatre company members are putting together a series of live online readings of short-form passion projects generated by 4615 company members. The goal is to hold live readings of these plays on 4615’s Facebook page throughout the duration of this quarantine. The first 4615 EP play, playwright Britt Willis’ This Vessel Is a Fragile Thing, will be read on Monday, March 23rd and 7:00 pm. Check out the 4615 Facebook page for future readings.
AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA: INTIMATE CYBER CONCERTS
From the theater: “During this time of uncertainty, The American Pops Orchestra vows to both our audience AND our artists to continue to offer unique ways to remain connected through a one-of-a-kind series called APO UNITED, a series of intimate cyber concerts from past artists, highlights from our APO instrumentalist, instructional yoga videos with Dan Carter, and playlists of positivity by Maestro Luke Frazier. Follow @theamericanpops to join in on the fun at home!”
AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER: MIDSUMMER 90
On Sunday, March 22 at 1:45 pm EST, American Shakespeare Center will present a 90-minute version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring the ASC touring company, streamed live from the Blackfriar’s Playhouse. Tune in here.
ARTS ON THE HORIZON: INTERACTIVE STORYTIME SESSIONS FOR KIDS
In an effort to continue to offer programming to children and families while schools and daycares are closed, Arts on the Horizon is launching a new series of videos on its YouTube channel. Arts on the Horizon will offer FREE 20-minute, interactive storytime sessions three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). Each session will be led by one of our teaching artists and the content will be geared for children ages 2-6. The sessions will include stories, songs, warm-ups, movement, and more. The first session, led by director of education, Laura Loy can be viewed here.
AUDREY CEFALY’S ALABASTER (LIVESTREAM)
We have the Know Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio to thank for this one. Know Theatre is selling tickets to a live stream of Alabaster by DC-based playwright Audrey Cefaly (The Gulf, Maytag Virgin, The Last Wide Open). The play is currently traveling the country on a record-breaking rolling world premiere through the National New Play Network. Alabaster will visit 11 cities this year, but none of them are Washington, DC, so this is your chance to see it. Here’s how:
-Streaming passes for Alabaster will be on sale only until 10 pm EDT on March 21.
-After purchasing your ticket, you will receive a private link and password that will you need to access the video once it goes live.
-If you click on the video link now, you’ll see a teaser trailer for the show.
-Once it goes live, the video will be available for access until April 4, 2020.
(*Know Theatre offers three tiers of pay what you can pricing: $5, $15, and $25)
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN THEATER FESTIVAL: SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT
Yes, it’s a drive from DC but attending the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia is a regular summer activity for many DC-area theatergoers. Fans who don’t typically attend their season announcement party can attend this year… from the comfort of their own homes. The March 20th event will be live-streamed from Shephard University starting at 6:45 pm. CATF Founder & Producing Director Ed Herendeen will announce the six plays in the 2020 season. After highlighting all of the plays, Herendeen will introduce the playwright of Ushuaia Blue, Caridad Svich. To ensure that patrons are still able to actively participate in the Shepherdstown Sneak Peek, online viewers will be able to send in questions and comments on social media throughout the evening. For more details about the Contemporary American Theater Festival’s online Shepherdstown Sneak Peek, including the link for the event, visit the Festival’s Facebook page or website.
EMBRACING ARLINGTON ARTS: PODCAST INTERVIEWS WITH LOCAL THEATER LEADERS
Shortly before all this craziness began, Embracing Arlington Arts founder Janet Kopenhaver conducted interviews with five of the region’s top artistic directors: Chil Kong (Adventure Theatre), Molly Smith (Arena Stage), Ryan Rilette (Round House Theatre), Eric Schaeffer (Signature Theatre), and Maria Goyanes (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company). The interviews offer insightful glimpses into the work of these artists and their leadership strategies. Available here and on most podcasting services.
FLYING V THEATRE COMPANY: ONLINE WRESTLING AND A SCI-FI PODCAST!
Flying V, the self-described “friendly neighborhood indie theater” has two unique online offerings to entertain you in your isolation. Flying V Fights: Pro Wrestling, featuring the likes of WWE’s Joaquin Wilde (DJZ), AEW’s Orange Cassidy and Bryce Remsburg, CHIKARA’s Hallowicked and Ophidian. (Stream it for free for five days on Independent Wrestling TV using code FYLYINGV) If wrestling isn’t your thing, check out Flying V’s sci-fi podcast, Paperless Pulp. Featuring scripts by local and national playwrights and performances by well-known DC actors, the futuristic tales of Paperless Pulp are on point listening for these dystopian times. Stream it for free on Stitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Play.
FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY: GET YOUR CLASSICAL BINGE ON!
The Folger Shakespeare Library has compiled this helpful list of all the classic films now available for free on streaming services. (You may never need to leave the house again!)
HAPPENSTANCE THEATRE: DIZ AND IZZY ONLINE!
Mark Jaster and Sabrina Mandell of Happenstance Theatre are posting a series of comedic videos featuring the characters Diz and Izzy on their website and their Facebook page. Jaster and Mandell’s sense of humor and whimsy is the perfect balm for shaken nerves. Check them out and have a laugh!
NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC: MUSICAL NOTES ONLINE
Starting on March 25 and in the weeks to come, National Philharmonic will post short pieces recorded by its musicians on social media. The program “Musical Notes” taps into cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s call that musicians – of all levels – around the world join him in offering “Songs of Comfort”. National Philharmonic’s first ‘Musical Note’ is from Laura Colgate, Acting Co-Concertmaster, performing Smile by Charlie Chaplin. Says Colgate, “We all need to find something that makes us smile right now, and wigs always seem to bring a smile to my face, hence my backup singers’ colorful new hairdos. Keep smiling y’all”.
SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY: RECORD YOUR OWN MONOLOGUE!
Shakespeare Theatre Company just launched a #ShakespeareChallenge, asking people to record themselves doing a Shakespearean monologue and posting it to social media. STC’s artistic director Simon Godwin launched the challenge with the Prologue from Romeo and Juliet. Are you up for the monologue challenge?
SOLAS NUA: DIGITAL IRISH ARTS FESTIVAL
Solas Nua will be launching CYBER CRAIC, a digital Irish arts festival, starting on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th). Over the following two weeks, Solas Nua will post new content daily featuring poetry, music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film, and more! Eleven books will be available to download as part of our annual Irish Book Day, and a new short play, written and performed by Deirdre Kinahan. All of these events will be free, but there’s a suggested donation of $5. All proceeds from those donations will go towards putting artists back to work. We will use the donations to pay artists to contribute additional artistic content to the festival.
STRATHMORE: SATURDAY MORNING JAM SESSION FOR KIDS
Junior music aficionados spend Saturday mornings singing, playing, and preparing for a lifetime of music appreciation at these Saturday Morning Jam Sessions. Families go on a musical adventure as expert artists guide them through folk, go-go, classical, bluegrass, and soul. Ideal for ages 4–8. This is typically a live event that Strathmore charges for, but this week, Strathmore is offering it online for FREE via Strathmore’s Facebook page. Tune in at 10:15 am on Saturday, March 21st.
THE KENNEDY CENTER: LUNCH DOODLE WITH MO WILLEMS
And you thought getting Hamilton tickets was hard! This event quickly became the hottest online event in town after it was announced on Monday (and tweeted by Lin-Manuel Miranda on Wednesday). From the theater: “The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ first-ever Education Artist-in-Residence, Emmy Award-winning writer and New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Mo Willems, launched an online video series that invites viewers to virtually join him in his studio for a LUNCH DOODLE every day for the next few weeks. Beginning on March 16, 2020, a new LUNCH DOODLE will be posted to the Mo Willems page of the Kennedy Center website daily at 1 pm.”