With COVID-19 shutting down theatrical venues, classes, and performances across the world, many performers now find themselves stuck at home with little to do. However, the arts are as always indomitable, and many performers and arts educators have taken to social media to do what they do best. Why not use your time at home productively? Here are 5 free resources (and one bonus, sort of free resource) for theatrical performers practicing social distancing!
I write this a week after the Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, declared schools would be closed for two weeks to combat the spread of COVID-19, and days after he’s ordered a shutdown of all events with more than 50 people in attendance. Thus, he wiped out thousands of school, community, and professional theatre productions in the state. All around the U.S. and the world, the decree is the same. As of now, Broadway is not even a week into a month-long blackout.
These preventative measures are necessary, but they exact a price.
A lot of my friends are hurting. As deep into various theatre circles as I am, I’ve been hearing lamentations of cancelled and postponed shows for weeks.
Some amateur department directors fear their programs will never be able to recover financially. Actors mourn roles they’ll never get to play for an audience. Professionals are without pay for who knows how long.
Despite everything, the theatre community keeps art and hope alive. Young actors share videos of their would-be performances, clips of themselves singing and reading monologues. Professional theatre and dance companies like BalletNova Center for Dance post Facebook Live ballet classes for anyone to enjoy.
But we are hurting. Many actors have had something taken from them they will never really be able to recover.
Actors, singers, dancers, professionals and amateurs alike; Performers of every sort who have been effected by the spread of this disease:
Take this time to rest, whether you want to or not.
In my adventures (and misadventures) as a middle school musical co-director, I find the phrase “please work on this on your own time” within my top-five most said in rehearsal. As an adult involved in community theatre, the same sentence is probably within my top-five most heard phrases as well. Most performers will agree to practice at home in earnest, but often find themselves at a loss when it comes time to do so. How can we make at-home rehearsal feel as useful and efficient as rehearsal with our peers?
I have compulsively taken audio recordings of every voice lesson I’ve had over the last four years, as well as recordings of most auditions and a handful of rehearsals. I’ve made it a habit and feel the strong need to be recording whenever I’m doing anything with my voice. Funny enough, I rarely end up listening back to these recordings– I’ve probably listened to less than a third of the entire library of recordings I’ve made with the app Voice Record Pro.
For fun I recently listened to some of the first recordings. These were from my freshman year of college, a time in which I was very insecure in my voice, and still very green in my vocal training overall. I was struck by the difference in those audios from the most recent ones! I was excited about the prospect of growth, and ended up mentioning the fact to my therapist. She was very excited with my discovery, and asked that I take it a step further.