The joy of theatre during a pandemic with drive-through productions
During this challenging time for the arts, Encore Stage & Studio remained steadfast in our mission and quickly adapted our programs to changing circumstances to provide artistic experiences for young people in our community. Encore enabled connections during this time of isolation.
When we couldn’t be on stage, we produced drive-through plays (A Winter Star in December 2020 and Voyager’s Compass in May/June 2021) thanks to the creativity and dedication of our cast, crew, and volunteers.
In December 2020, we took on the challenge of producing the drive-through production A Winter Star, which was written and directed by high school student Xander Tilock. It was a Covid-friendly way for both our performers and audiences to enjoy theatre again. The energy of our young artists and volunteers was inspiring. They rehearsed over Zoom and stood in the cold for close to three hours at a time over eight days.
The run was almost entirely sold out with 383 vehicles driving through. We split the ticket proceeds with our local food pantry during this difficult time for our community.
Patrons drove from scene to scene in a large parking lot, engaging with the young actors along the way. Thirty-three cast members had the opportunity to perform again during the pandemic, with four crew members supporting the effort. Parents happily told us about hearing “will you run lines with me?” and how important it was for their children to work together creatively again after such a hard year without theatre.
A first grade patron said that “it was pretty great that they figured out how to do a play in a safe way right now and without a stage!" Her 11 year old brother countered that this was just a VERY different stage. Their mother wrote “I am blown away by the determination and the creativity”—which is the highest praise for us during this challenging time.
In the spring, we produced a second drive-through production. In addition to an almost-sold out run of cars in a parking lot, Voyager’s Compass performed at Lubber Run Amphitheater in June.