The good news? The Drama Barn is going to be open! The bad news? – Not to the audience.
In order to respect COVID guidelines, DramaSoc, who were used to giving us four performances a week (a weekend show from Friday to Sunday and an ‘Open Drama Night’ on Monday), has to adapt. Although some plays will go fully online, the general trend is that the performances will be held in the Barn and live-streamed.
This might seem disappointing. Theatre is about the magic of a moment and the possibility of spontaneous interaction between the audience and actors. Is theatre really compatible with social distancing? Yes, according to Ella McKeown, chair of DramaSoc. “We will lose interaction with the audience, but there are lots of other things you can gain from live-streaming, such as online animations, graphic designs, Q&A with the audience…”. DramaSoc has invested in high quality cameras to make sure the performances are just as professional as before. “We have learned a lot over the summer” (auditions and rehearsals for the first performances this term have already started), “and are all very excited”, she adds.
So what does DramaSoc have planned? Term will start with a New Works festival (weekend of week 2); an opportunity for anyone to submit a piece of theatrical writing, even in its very early stages. They can share it on a Google Drive and benefit from the comments and advice of other participants. It is open to absolutely everyone, including international students who might feel a little less confident with English. DramaSoc is keen to keep working on it’s accessibility for all students at York.
As always, this term’s line-up looks fantastic. Tennessee Williams, York Alumnus Simon Stephens, Caryl Churchill, plus classics, comedies, darker plays like Osama the Hero, feminism and isolation… all just a few hints at what you can expect from DramaSoc.
Anyone can audition for plays from weeks 5-9. First years might be particularly interested by this year’s freshers play: Lysistrata, a Greek comedy. Every year, one play is produced solely by freshers. They have complete autonomy and freedom to do whatever they like. Don’t be scared of auditioning, get involved in DramaSoc!