The Auburn University Department of Theatre is now offering AU Theatre @ Home, a virtual service allowing patrons to view the department’s productions from their own home. Virtual ticket reservations for the fall production season opened on Sept. 9.
AU Theatre @ Home was created for a safer viewing and production environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Theatre followed the lead of many theater companies across the world and started a virtual programming service to showcase their productions for the fall 2020 season.
“We determined the best way to accomplish those goals was to produce theater remotely and offer a new viewer experience for your audiences in the comfort of their own homes,” said Rachele DeLuca, communications and marketing specialist II for the Department of Theatre. Viewers will be able to watch from home using Vimeo.
Vimeo is an external video platform which allows viewers to watch anytime from Monday to Sunday. Vimeo provided the option for the theater company to embed a video of the production on to their webpage. This allows the theater company to provide relevant production information.
“We needed a platform that would be able to be shared privately, [and] Vimeo provided the best experience for this, in our opinion,” DeLuca said.
The Department of Theatre, like many others in during the pandemic, has been forced to adapt to new circumstances in order to continue to produce shows, DeLuca said.
“We have grown used to certain rhythms of production and to dramatically alter those processes in the midst of dual pandemics offers great challenges, but also incredible opportunities for both students and audiences,” she said. “We all learn through how we respond to moments of great change and this is a semester of immense learning possibilities.”
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New learning possibilities and positive aspects of digital viewing came along with the difficult switch. The theater produces five to six shows in a season, and with the adaptation people can watch shows on their own time.
“A huge plus for providing productions in a digital format is that we can reach people who otherwise would not have been able to see the shows, like audiences out of state and across the country,” DeLuca said.
Tickets are now available for purchase for the first three productions. Once a ticket has been reserved viewers will receive a link to the showing and are free to watch at any time until the end of the viewing window.
“Audiences will have unique viewing windows for each show, and each show themselves will be produced in a slightly different way to fit the vision of the collaborative teams,” DeLuca said.
“Blithe Spirit,” “Together Apart: A Socially Distanced Collaboration” and “Little Women” are the productions available for at home viewing format. Each of these productions has a designated viewing window during the fall season for viewers to purchase tickets. The “Blithe Spirit” showing week is Oct. 12 to Oct. 18. “Together Apart” can be viewed from Nov. 16 to Nov. 22 and “Little Women” can be viewed from Dec. 7 to Dec. 13.
The format for “Ragtime: A Staged Concert” and “The Future is Here: A Student One-Act and Performance Festival” will be announced by the beginning of November.
DeLuca recommends a good internet connection and possible streaming on a larger screen for optimal viewing. The link will be provided before the viewing window opens, so viewers can test the equipment and troubleshooting information will be provided.
The Auburn Theatre Company hopes people who planned to attend shows for the year and people who could not attend in person will utilize the program.
“Our community has already shown great support,” DeLuca said.
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