Changes coming to UNO theatre this year


Owen Rush

The UNO theatre department will have empty seats this year as their musicals move to virtual live streaming. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

If 2020 was classified as a genre, it would be a melodrama, complete with ups and downs and amazing music.

This school year has been changing constantly for everyone because of the pandemic. One department has been hit harder than most others: UNO’s theatre department. Despite all the challenges they have been faced with, they seem to have made lemonade out of lemons. Sophie Knauss and James Mankle are UNO theatre students who spoke on what changes to expect this fall semester.

Knauss is a senior studying both performance and scenic design, and he has been involved in the theatre for three years. Mankle is a senior in the department as well, studying general theater with an interest in acting and performance.

UNO students can expect the theatre department to have the “QWIT” Theatre festival and “Songs for A New World,” as the musical this semester.

A common theme that students have seen throughout the pandemic is that most events have transitioned to become virtual. UNO Theatre will follow suit by moving shows and auditions online. All auditions will be done through Zoom, and shows will be live-streamed and recorded so that students may still experience the arts without being in the audience. Mankle is excited but nervous about this change.

“I am excited theatre will be more accessible to everyone,” Mankle says, “But nervous people will not be able to see the village it takes to put on a show and see more than just the actors.”

UNO Theatre is also hosting “QWIT,” a Queer & Women’s inclusive theatre festival, which will feature six short plays. The cast sizes will be small and masks will be incorporated into costumes. They will have auditions for these shows online, as well as rehearsals.

“Songs for a New World” will be directed by Denise Chapman, and the musical has parallels of struggles that we can see today. Auditions will be done on video and callbacks will be in-person with masks while practicing social distancing.

“We are taking caution,” Knauss says. “We are finding the silver lining in forms of theatre we haven’t explored yet.”

As is the case for most UNO courses, theatre classes are online. Knauss says that theatre relies on human connection and vulnerability, which will be hard to experience this semester.

“I am nervous for classes but relaxed because we are in the best hands,” Knauss says.

Mankle says to look out for auditions on the UNO theatre website and to follow the website for more updates on all things going on with UNO Theatre. We are going through this together #Maverickstrong.