HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -While the traditional stage may be empty right now, those in the performing arts world are trying to find ways to make sure the show goes on.
“Instead of looking at it as a time of settling back and waiting, I think it’s a really great opportunity to find new ways to perform,” Noah Hamade, a junior musical theatre major at James Madison University, said.
“We all feel so passionate about our art and what we do, so you do what you have to to continue to do what you love,” Oshie Mellon, a sophomore musical theatre major at JMU, said.
There have been many changes made to the traditional performing arts industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Broadway is still closed, auditoriums are empty, professors are teaching virtually, and 10-foot spaces can be seen on stage. But, with the changes come new opportunities.
“I was able to, from home, take dance classes and master classes with artists that I’ve looked up to for years and, you know, never been able to be in the same room,” Colie Vancura, a junior musical theatre major at James Madison University, said.
“I had the opportunity to work with a guest professor and the sophomore studio class on a livestream performance that we did from the top of a parking deck here in collaboration with people from all over the world,” Ben Steinhauer, a junior theatre major at JMU, said.
“This is the first year that first-years ever were able to perform this early into the semester, so I do think there’s a bright side and new opportunities are happening,” Hailey Clevenger, a senior dance major at JMU, said.
And these artists said the arts are accessible now more than ever before.
“One of the really I think positive things around all of this is the idea of access and equity and inclusion and the ability to reach a wider range of people,” Kate Arecchi, Interim School Director of the School of Theatre and Dance at JMU, said.
While one day the stages will reopen, these artists said the new practices may stay.
“Of course all artists want this to be over, we really do, but what’s not going to be over when it’s over is the understanding and use of technology.” Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy, Director of Choral Activities at JMU, said.
But, in the meantime, they will continue to create.
“Art is almost now more important than ever before and so us artists need to just rise to the occasion and continue to make it,” Steinhauer said.
“That will be one of the most exciting days the first time I’m sitting in a theatre or on stage and a show starts,” Vancura said.
But for now, the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts, at James Madison University, remains quieter than normal.
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