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Carroll College Theatre hosts first production with live audience since start of pandemic

carroll college theatre
Posted at 9:24 AM, Mar 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-21 11:24:02-04

HELENA — Carroll College Theatre produced a theatrical performance of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is their first performance that now includes a live audience after a year of pandemic restrictions.

Watching theatre from home can be a challenge with moving cameras, sceneries, and masks covering facial expressions.

However, Carroll College has finally been able to welcome the audience back to the theater in-person, while also continuing live streaming for remote audiences.

They've used the full space of their FLEX theatre to practice social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions. The Production Director says it was heartwarming to see faces once again.

“Just the experience of being around people again and being in a theatre was really wonderful,” says Kim Shire, Associate Professor of Theatre at Carroll College. “We've had some learning curves over the course of the year trying to figure out how to live stream and do it well so the audience gets a good experience of home."

Professor Shire says the theatre program spent about $6,000 over the past year to purchase five new cameras and transform their productions to live streaming to make the experience at home similar to a theatre presence.

WEB EXTRA: Carroll College theatre

“People were calling them 'camera fairies,' who have cameras on tripods as they're rolling around the space to get in close so the people at home always have a good view of what's happening in the space,” says Shire.

Camera operators have essentially become performers and the actors have adapted their techniques to improve production value with COVID-19 restrictions.

“It's been different to try and figure out how we're moving around each other as well. Obviously, we can't reach out and touch each other which I think is a lot of our human instinct to do so,” says Tabitha Southworth, a junior student performer at Carroll College. “It's been different to try and figure out new ways to interact with each other without that aspect.”

Another new way is to speak louder, provide more dramatic moves since masks cover faces and emotions. Another performer says it is a new way of acting they’re finally proud to showcase to a live audience.

“From our last shows where we had to look at a camera most of the time and hope that we are making some form of a connection. Seeing that sort of in-person experience in being able to actually create a connection with those people, it's really enjoyable. It was a lot of fun to be able to engage with a lot of people," says Ethan Melton, a sophomore student performer at Carroll College.

It is not too late for you to visit these performers in their Shakespeare comedy portrayal.

Carroll College will have one more live performance March 21st, 2021. Click here for more details.

Professor Shire says they are thinking of extending the play for another week. We will update you, should any notice be released from the theatre department.