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Bristol Herald Courier: Tennis Anyone?: Barter, E&H thinking outside the box and stage for ‘new kind of theater’

By September 21, 2020No Comments

Posted September 20, 2020

Tennis Anyone?: Barter, E&H thinking outside the box and stage for ‘new kind of theater’

BY JOE TENNIS

First, it was the Barter Theatre staging shows and bringing the Moonlite Drive-In Theatre back to life.

And now?

The unstoppable Barter Theatre — shuttered because of COVID-19 pandemic — has joined forces with Emory & Henry College to help theater artists break through the limitations of the pandemic.

All this means creating a world of live theater productions in conjunction with the Emory & Henry Theatre Department.

The department and Barter folks are working on to present eight new, short works that will be introduced on Facebook and later on other online and social media formats.

Everything’s gone virtual, right?

Well, this digital series — called “Outbreak: Appalachia in the Time of Covid-19” — is being directed, designed and choreographed by E&H faculty and Barter professionals.

All while, it’s being performed by E&H students.

It’s all safe, too.

The performances are being rehearsed and recorded using a variety of practices, including internet technology.

Plays to be presented include “Pandemic Party” by Stacey Isom Campbell.

“This new, fresh approach to theater-making gives our students the opportunity to create art in this pivotal moment about the very moment we are living in,” said Dirk Moore, the executive director of the McGlothlin Center for the Arts at Emory & Henry College.

And, Moore added, “It also allows them to maximize this semester of their education to gain new skills sets specifically relevant to the contemporary theater while remaining nimble and creating great theater in the current situation.”

As for the Barter Theatre, this collaboration in the virtual theater world represents new experiences, according to Nick Piper, associate artistic director at Barter.

“This has been new for all of us,” Piper said in a release. “And it all comes down to figuring out what is the best way to tell these stories. Everyone is getting to learn a new skill; we’re creating a new kind of theater.”

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