The Indiana Players uphold a connection with their audience virtually while dealing with the uncertainty of future in-person theater performances.
The volunteer theater organization has been working to keep the community entertained with performances since its first show in 1977. Anyone with an interest in theater can join, and all are encouraged to get involved with this outlet for entertainment.
Community is vital for a non-profit organization like this one to thrive, and with Gov. Tom Wolf's requesting that recreational activities be temporarily shut down, Indiana Players has obliged with postponing upcoming shows.
Normally busy year-round, the theater company now communicates primarily through Facebook with less interaction than usual.
That being said, auditions are currently being held with careful regard to COVID-19 regulations. In the fall, a few in-person events were held, and precautions were taken that consisted of taking temperatures at the door, holding an audience limit at 25 percent capacity of the theater and 6 feet of distance between audience members, and mask-wearing was enforced.
In-person auditions are by appointment to limit people in the theater and require mask-wearing, social distancing rules and sanitation procedures. Although in-person auditions grant better judgment in regard to viewing onstage presence and voice projection, online auditions are still available for convenience and safety reasons.
As for the future of Indiana Players, board member Kathleen Kerns said that the theater plans to hold virtual performances until May. She said that it is difficult to plan ahead with such an uncertain future.
“One of the most difficult problems has been the uncertainty,” Kerns said. “It has been a huge challenge to plan for the future because we never know what will happen from week to week or month to month. Last March when we were first required to close, we never dreamed that we would still be dealing with this a year later.”
Virtual performances, while the safest option, come with their own batch of problems.
As Indiana Players is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations, members must work with a tight budget and limited tools at their disposal to combat issues like bandwidth and internet speed during online shows.
One small thing that has come out of the pandemic is the ability to focus on improvement.
With the help of donors, renovations including the raising of their ceiling, stage expansion and lighting equipment upgraded to LED lights were now able to be done.
Uncertainty and regulations aside, Indiana Players continues to invite engagement with their community with the thought of everyone’s safety always in mind.
Ticket sales are currently available as the quickest way to support this theater company, and any changes that can and may occur will be addressed in monthly newsletters or regularly updated social media.
“We have asked our patrons for patience at this time of [uncertainty] to know that all plans are tentative and subject to change at short notice,” Kern said. “The safety of our patrons and volunteers is our priority.”
To keep up to date with Indiana Players’ upcoming events, please visit their social media and www.indianaplayers.com.