The four plays presented by University Players during its innovative online theatre festival The Stream You Step In could not have been more timely, says drama professor Michelle MacArthur.
“This project allowed our creative teams to develop new work rapidly, which is not usually the case in theatre,” Dr. MacArthur says. “The plays all respond to current events, such as the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer, and the ways they were staged for Zoom evolved as the platform updated its technology during the rehearsal process.”
Associate creative curator for the digital season — a co-production with the Outside the March theatre company — she will discuss new artistic models to sustain the industry in a panel discussion entitled “Pandemic Performances: Creating Live Theatre on Zoom” at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3.
Joining her are panellists:
- Elena Eli Belyea, playwright of the original work The Jubilant;
- Kimberley McLeod, who directed the play’s world premiere; and
- UWindsor music professor Brent Lee, composer of the music played during performances of The Stream You Step In.
MacArthur received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to analyze the creative process and audience experience of the live digital presentations.
“This special funding from SSHRC supports researchers in partnering with organizations to help them address challenges arising from the pandemic, she says. “The four innovative plays produced as part of The Stream You Step In offer new ways of making theatre that promise to have an impact beyond the pandemic and are deepening our understanding of how audiences engage with livecast theatre.”