It should come as no surprise that creative minds that are inspired to bring performance art to audiences would find work-arounds during COVID-19’s stranglehold on the country. Drive-in live concerts, online shows and performances with audiences socially distanced are just some of the recent alternatives offered by the local arts community.
Atlanta Black Theatre Festival
Atlanta Black Theatre Festival has made the Porter Sanford Performing Arts and Community Center its home for the past few years. Coming on its ninth season this year, festival organizers are switching to an online presence for its Sept. 30-Oct. 3 run. Billed as “Four Days of Black Plays:
Theatre-at-Home!,” the festival’s upcoming lineup is still being finalized but each day is expected to include staged readings, panel discussions and workshops as well as “main stage performances, according to the Eventbrite website through which tickets can be ordered. A new approach is also being taken with tickets this year with a “Pay What You Can” policy in place. After patrons RSVP on the website and pay for tickets, a home program guide will be emailed to them.
“We are asking for donations (pay what you can) to help Black artists and creatives recover from the devasting losses they suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic,” states ABTF organizers on the site.
They added that darkened theaters, canceled shows, terminated contracts along lack of funding have brought have caused artists and other creative individuals to struggle.
For more details, go to atlantabtf.org.
“We will be tentatively reopening for a few select shows this July with lower capacity and a focus on maintaining a safe environment for the artists, the staff and our guests,” states a message on Eddie Attic’s website. Included in the August lineup for the downtown Decatur music venue are: Karen Waldrup Aug. 14, Joe Gransden and his 16-Piece big band Aug. 21, Striking Matches Aug. 28.
Face coverings and observing social distancing are now required at Eddie’s Attic when guests are not seated at their tables. The bar is open, but the kitchen is closed, and patrons can bring in food.
For more information on Eddie’s Attic, go to eddiesattic.com.
Spruill Center for the Arts
The annual Student & Faculty Juried Exhibition at Spruill Center for the Arts has been tweaked this year. It’s not juried and has taken a new format, presented virtually at spruillarts.org/artist-in-residence. Running through Aug. 22, the virtual exhibition presents the work of students and faculty and allows the public to view and purchase works such as Lauren Adams’ acrylic on canvas Hog Hollow Swap for $175, Donna Ree Anderson’s LOLA mixed media cast in resin on board for $420, Carol Dew’s oil on That Glance for $150 and Jo Ann Graham’s sterling silver Crinkle Cuff for $399.
Find out more at spruillarts.org.
Despite shuttering its doors months ago, ART Station in Stone Mountain is finding new ways to continue to reach its audience. In May, it posted a 45-minute video on its website called “20th Century Songbook” with Patrick Hutchison, resident music director, on piano and harmonizing tunes such as “In the Good Old Summertime” and with other artists singing “Take Me out to the Ball Game.” In June, it launched an online cabaret performance featuring singer Tony Hayes and seven other vocalists.
Both can be viewed at ART Station’s website artstation.org.
Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is bringing back it’s Jazz on the Lawn series with a “pod” system with taped off spaces on the lawn for groupings of two to eight people. Each pod is spaced 6 feet or more apart. Masks are required, cheering is discouraged and food will not be available for sale. The concerts begin Aug. 14 with Bob Baldwin and run through Oct. 9.
More information is available at callanwolde.org.
Main Street Theatre
Despite initially cancelling its upcoming season indefinitely, Main Street Theatre in Tucker found a way to still bring its creativity to audiences. In late July, it hosted a free “socially distanced murder mystery” Stand In held in partnership with Shorty’s Neighborhood Eatery.
Entering its 52nd season, the Alliance Theatre is planning to hold several plays in its newly renovated main theater—the Coca-Cola Stage. However, new measures include masks, social distancing seating, staggered entry and exit times and mobile/e-ticketing.
The Alliance also is using a drive-in format for some productions including A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play Dec. 1-31.
The venue also hosted a weekly virtual cabaret called “We’re Still Here” with vocalists Courtenay Collins and Terry Burrell sharing songs and stories.
For details on the Alliance’s offerings, go to alliancetheatre.org.
Calling it off
While several organizations are reinventing their events, some have thrown in the towel for now.
Porchfest, an annual music event that takes place on the front porches of Decatur homes each fall, has been cancelled.
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