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College Of The Canyons Theatre Department Goes Virtual For Fall Semester

While the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered playhouses and theaters across the country, the College of the Canyons Theatre Department has found a way for the show to go on.

The department has announced three virtual performance opportunities for students during the Fall 2020 semester: “110 Stories,” “Woyzeck” and a new devised piece based on student experiences during the pandemic.

To ensure the safety of performers, faculty and staff, all the performances are planned to be rehearsed and presented through live video.

“We are dedicated to continuing our commitment to our students and their educational goals,” said Jennifer Smolos, dean of the college’s School of Visual and Performing Arts. “While many other colleges and programs have postponed or cancelled performances and performance-based training courses, we continue our work to find innovative ways to adapt to this new learning environment. Flexibility is paramount for artists and it remains very important to us that we make virtual performance opportunities available to our students.”

Auditions are scheduled to be held during the first week of classes and are open to all. Auditions are also held virtually, with online auditions forms, recorded monologues and ZOOM audition slots.

“These are three very different pieces, with different experiences for our students” said David Stears, producer for the theatre department. “While we are not on stage, there are still tremendous opportunities for training and learning.  The rudimental basics of performance don’t change with the medium. This is a new emerging medium and we are training our students to embrace it.”

The College of the Canyons Theatre program is a highly respected, foundational theatre training program, offering programs and degrees in performance, theatrical theatre, and theatre transfer degrees.

“Many of the Theatre Department classes count towards Humanities credit for CSU or UC schools”, said Christopher Boltz, chair of the college’s theatre department and head of the technical theatre program. “Our students leave us with an associate’s degree and transfer in as third-year students at many programs throughout the state.”

About the Performances

Written by Sarah Tuft and directed by Maureen Huskey, “110 Stories” takes the audience through 9/11 as told by those who were there. Based on interviews, this docu-play weaves together stories not shown on the news, from people we can relate to: a mother, a photojournalist, an ironworker, a chiropractor, and a homeless man who saved lives that day. This honest and occasionally funny play captures the shock and horror of 9/11 along with its aftermath.

Directed by Stears, “Woyzeck” is a working-class tragedy of the dehumanizing effects of doctors and the military on a young man’s life. Left unfinished at Georg Büchner’s death, the play had an enormous impact on realism, naturalism, and expressionist movements in theatre and literature. The play’s “choose your own adventure” format would allow audience members to choose their own path as they journey through the story. The performance will be recorded.

Susan Hinshaw is set to direct a new devised piece with students that focuses on this unique time in history—a time of upheaval, turmoil and great social change. The pandemic has given rise to many things including a new and budding art form: live video theatre.  

Student actors are expected to take on this challenge by writing, performing and producing a completely original show based on their experiences during the pandemic. The performance is set to be a dynamic and fully staged live video theatre event.

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College Of The Canyons Theatre Department Goes Virtual For Fall Semester

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