Upstate Community Theatres Unite Amidst Covid-19 with Curtains Up Coalition

Curtains Up is a group of Upstate community theatre artists creating innovative ways to keep curtains up and audiences inspired. During this challenging time when theatre doors remain closed, Curtains Up will produce virtual theatrical content and be a unified front for theatre advocacy and fundraising.

“Community theatres are completely shut down during this crazy time. We can’t entertain, engage, inspire, give back, employ artists, or fuel our economy like we normally do—so Curtains Up is here to find innovative ways to inspire, create, and advocate,” says Noah Taylor – Artistic Director of The Market Theatre Company in Anderson – who co-founded the Coalition with Ryan Hewitt, Artistic Director of Greenwood Community Theatre, and Bess Park, Executive Artistic Director of Wild Hare Productions in Greenwood.

Five other organizations including Foothills Playhouse (Easley), Clemson Little Theatre (Pendleton), Proud Mary Theatre Company (Spartanburg), Mill Town Players (Pelzer), Greer Cultural Center Arts Council (Greer) and more, have unified to demonstrate the impact and importance of the arts to the community.

The coalition will offer cross-promotion of official Curtains Up events every Wednesday night with spotlights on individual theatres — including donation links for the theatre in the spotlight – and multi-theatre events such as “Curtains Up Cabaret” on June 10.

Recently, Wild Hare Productions presented an original musical play “Starfish Island,” and Proud Mary Theatre Company unveiled their 2020-21 season with musical selections from future shows.

“Proud Mary Theatre is thrilled to be part of this unified presence, especially as a young theatre just in our third season” says Sandy Staggs, Artistic Director of Proud Mary Theatre Company, which also produces readings of new plays every other Tuesday on the company’s Facebook page, such as White Picket Wives, Blue Camp, The Little Pony and the upcoming murder mystery The Vultures.

On Wednesday, May 27 The Market Theatre Company takes the spotlight with highlights from three of their musicals which have been postponed due to COVID-19. For the first time, the public will see cast members in action singing songs from MATILDA, MAMMA MIA!, and THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE!

Community theatres are completely shut down during this crazy time. We can’t entertain, engage, audiences inspired. Starting now, during this challenging time when theatre doors remain closed, Curtains Up will produce virtual theatrical content and be a unified front for theatre advocacy and fundraising.

Hewitt describes the alliance as a way for Upstate community theatres to support each other, have a unified presence for advocating and fundraising, as well as a shared approach to creating unique virtual content for these unprecedented times.

The vision of the Coalition is “Envisioning the future of community arts (theatre) planning to include best practices regarding the health and wellness of our communities while continuing to deliver excellent theatrical content to our supporters. Curtains Up Coalition focuses on collaborative efforts among community theatres by ensuring that the arts, arts organizations, and local artists feel continuing support via the creation of alternative performance and fundraising platforms. These unique and innovative opportunities will help support community theatres to be able to operate regardless of unforeseen blocks to live performance delivery. At the heart of this effort is a desire to explore how community theatres can come together and work in harmony and collaboratively to enhance future operations and programming for community theatres in our region, and thereby preserving both the integrity and importance of the arts for community enrichment.”

“We know that this moment won’t last forever. These plans aim to help community theatres during quarantine and isolation. Said Hewitt. “After this pandemic, the mission of the alliance will remain the same, but specific plans and programs will be reevaluated.”

For more information about the Curtains Up Coalition, visit https://www.facebook.com/curtainsupcoalition/

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