Arts in Adaptation

During a typical summer, there are many ways to entertain and educate yourself. Whether it is taking an art class, joining a sport’s camp, or participating in local theatre; there is something fun to do. Yet, due to the pandemic affecting the state, the country, and the world, many ‘normal’ opportunities cannot be a reality for safety reasons. This reality has not stopped the professional and local theatre community from becoming more creative with options for interested participants. Although a little unconventional, there are all kinds of ways to express yourself.
BAMtheatre, a group located in Hinsdale, has been innovative in finding ways to move forward with their summer camps. They have found professionals to teach Master Classes. In these seminars actors, dancers, and singers share something they have learned in order to help students. BAMtheatre has also developed a book club to read and discuss different famous musicals. And, they have figured out how to still bring community theatre into the homes of their students. Offering a variety of virtual camps, the organization has given students the opportunity to perform roles that they might have dreamed about playing from the comfort of their own home! Choices from The Music Man to Frozen 2 to Stranger Things, a BAMtheatre original. The company has truly found a way to provide a performance program for every student.
However, if performing is not your forte, don’t fear! BrightSide Theatre might just be the place for you.
BrightSide Theatre is also offering singing, acting, and dancing classes. They have brought something particularly different to the table: a tech seminar. The View from the Booth: A Stage Management Webinar is being held to educate those interested in behind-the-scenes work and those interested in the job of a stage manager. Being conducted by Becky Robbins, a professional stage manager, it provides a unique perspective on how to make sure a show runs smoothly. Along with this unique seminar, there are singing, acting, and dancing classes. These differ from what BAM has presented, focusing more on the craft as a whole than specific performances. BrightSide includes storytelling classes, singing all types of musical theatre, and even learning a variety of dances to the soundtrack of Descendants. BrightSide specializes in a broader spectrum than BAM.
Even with all of these exciting ideas and events, there is still more to be offered in community theatre.
Fair Lady Productions has worked nonstop to make this summer somewhat ‘normal’ for their students. For instance, they are providing an in-person improv class, albeit with strict safety measures. This decision brings a sense of community to the group by helping their students to learn the true nature of improvisation which is thinking on your toes. However, there is more being offered for those at this studio. Shows that were cut short due to the stay-at-home order in March have not been cancelled. Rather, they have continued to be rehearsed. The cast members work tirelessly to remember lines, blocking, choreography, and more. Over 400 students, of all different ages, have continued to rehearse with the hope that they will be able to perform for an audience, no matter how small, in the future. In addition to other in-person and virtual camps planned throughout the summer, Fair Lady Productions is a source of hope for many in a time where there does not seem to be much to celebrate in the theater.
All of these groups have found extremely beneficial, yet different, strategies and solutions during this unprecedented time. Using their resources, they have found ways for their students to still have an activity to look forward to, even though it may be in an unusual capacity. While it is uncertain what the future may hold, the knowledge that the arts are able to adapt, no matter the circumstances, is a reason for anyone and everyone to smile.