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Stage West in Fort Worth has also spent the past year experimenting. In September, the company presented “Everything Will Be Fine” along with Prism Movement Theater.
Audiences sat in their cars, tuned in to a specific radio station, as dancers used a parking lot as their stage.
Executive Director Dana Schultes says the drive-in experience was a first for Stage West.
“When COVID hit, it was extremely jarring, however I wanted to find that silver lining as quickly as possible and use the time that COVID has made possible to learn new things, to try new things.”
The theater company has since invested in new technology, cameras and livestreaming software. Their latest production featured masked actors interacting with audiences through Zoom.
Innovation is exhilarating, but union struggles and economic uncertainty aren’t. On top of that, the pandemic has put a generation of actors out of work.
“That is the negative side of all of this. The high amount of stress this has caused to all of us in the industry. It’s one thing to reinvent the wheel a couple of times, but to have to do it over and over again, it has worn at our psyches and our health.”
She also wonders whether patrons will feel safe in an indoor venue. Stage West is considering making vaccinations mandatory for its staff.
“The ability to ask that all audiences that walk into the building be vaccinated is a harder thing to put forward. However, I do think that we can have vaccine nights where only people who flash their card are allowed into the building.”
Until then, outdoor theater will be the way to go for most companies.