ETSU Theatre and Dance plans virtual performances for fall semester

A graphic for the fall 2020 season

Department of Theatre and Dance to perform on popular platform

Though it will be in a virtual world, the curtain will rise this fall for the Department of Theatre and Dance at East Tennessee State University.

Two plays plus a musical showcase are planned for the fall 2020 semester. Students will rehearse on Zoom and the performances will be recorded on that platform as well. Slated for this fall are “Appropriate” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins on Oct. 9; “Every Person,” an adaptation by ETSU faculty member Bobby Funk of the 15th century play “Everyman,” on Oct. 30; and the Musical Theatre Showcase on Dec. 4.

“Other than not performing live on stage, all of the other elements of our productions will be in place for our fall season,” said Karen Brewster, chairwoman of Theatre and Dance. “Our students and faculty in design will be coordinating minimal costumes, lighting, sound and set design for these virtual online shows. We held our auditions on Zoom, and production for these shows is now under way.

“Even though much of the nation’s theater community has gone dark during this pandemic, having the opportunity to be part of a production is an important component of our students’ educational experience, so we spent the summer strategizing on a way to continue our season by using the tools and expertise available to us. In addition, we know that loyal theater patrons miss seeing productions, and this will give them a chance to enjoy a show.”

All shows will be presented at 7 p.m. on the scheduled dates. Details for access will be posted on the ETSU Theatre and Dance website two weeks prior to each performance. These will premiere only one time, and archived recordings will not be available. Patrons will not be required to purchase a ticket to view the show.

“Appropriate” will be directed by Herb Parker, and Funk will direct “Everyman.” Cara Harker and Brad Fugate will coordinate the showcase that will include both music and dance. Stage managers for the productions will be Emma-Rae Carson and Kallie Jenkins, and assistant stage managers will be Morgan Colley, Levi Jones and Laura Watson. Design faculty include Melissa Shafer (lighting); Beth Skinner (costumes); Zach Olsen (technical director); and Jonathon Taylor (production manager).

“We are especially excited that the virtual performance platform will allow anyone around the country to take in an ETSU Theatre and Dance production this fall,” Brewster added. “This is an opportunity to showcase the talents of our amazing student artists.”

Contributed to the Press