by T. Wahl
TRINIDAD — This past week, a lot changed in the region – schools announced closures , some restaurants switched to delivery or curbside pickup, others closing all together.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new SCRT Executive Director Andrew Schneider has been trying to figure out what to do in a world where theatres around the world have gone dark.
Schneider was appointed Executive Director of the Trinidad based community theatre in February after the founder and Executive Director Harriet Vaugeois retired . When I first interviewed him just after he was appointed, he was eager to start thinking about new ways to engage audiences in community theatre.
Then the novel coronavirus hit communities all over the world, and it hit the theatre world hard, closing down concerts, plays, and restaurants.
And it shut down the SCRT Center too. The planned play for April, “Social Security” has been postponed. As of now, the theatre will be closed through May 15.
“In normal times if this wasn’t happening, ⅓ of revenues would be tickets, a third would be grants and corporate sponsors and the rest would be from community donors.
At this point we are 100 percent relying on our community to step forward.”
On March 19, he wrote a letter to SCRT supporters announcing a new project called SCRT at home:
“I have been thinking a lot about how we can all come together (but stay apart) and fulfill SCRT’s nonprofit purpose to serve the greater good through the performing arts. So, how do you make theatre when people aren’t going out to the theatre?… If all the world’s a stage, as Shakespeare wrote, then why not enjoy a little theatre (making it or watching it) from the comfort of your living room?”
The collaborative video project, called “SCRT at Home” encourages people to share videos of themselves performing in some way.
Anyone who wants to participate can.
“We had to close,” Schneider says. “ And this is way for us to keep connected to our audience.” He said it’s important to get people involved in creating and sharing during this period. We just have to be creative about how we’re going to do our mission.”
There will be weekly prompts if participants need inspiration for their creation. And that creation can be lots of things, a monologue, a written piece, a painting, playing an instrument or singing a song. Or it could even be baking a pie.
The most important thing is to record a short video that’s at least thirty seconds and no longer than five minutes. And then share it on social media with the hashtag #SCRTatHome or on the SCRT facebook page.
Schneider says they are still designing the project and are open to ideas. For more information, visit the SCRT Facebook page.