The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Performing and Visual Arts has announced plans to revise its fall season by offering immersive digital experiences to the community.
Although a trip to the theater may look different this season, the SPVA approaches the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic by offering virtual tours of art exhibitions, hosting outdoor dance concerts and broadcasting live theatrical performances.
“We have reimagined the experience; we are back and busy doing what we love to do, which is to create and share our exhibitions, dance concerts and theatrical productions for our audiences,” said Stacy Reischman Fletcher, director of the SPVA.
The SPVA launched the virtual 2020 Biennial Faculty Show on Sept. 10, which features works of art created by the Art and Design faculty.
These virtual showrooms are open to the public as individuals are encouraged to immerse themselves in the arts from the safety and comfort of their own homes. By offering virtual tours, the school is able to share their exhibits and events with individuals at both local and national levels.
“Rather than having physical gallery exhibitions this fall, we decided that it would be best to move our exhibitions online,” said Mark Rigsby, associate professor and gallery director. “I chose to see this not as a limitation but as an opportunity to share our exhibits and events not only with the local community but with audiences on a national scale.”
For dance, this semester has presented many new challenges, but the creativity of the dancers and fellow faculty members has been inspiring.
“By allowing our students to still be able to embark on their junior and senior choreographic projects, we have come up with some alternative and exciting ways for people to view dance,” said Lauren Smith, assistant professor of dance. “We have built a new outdoor stage for our senior solos to be performed, and the juniors are working on an outdoor site-specific concert. Both of these will be pre-recorded and streamed online for our audience, and we can’t wait to see how this ignites future dance making.”
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the theatre program is transitioning from live performances to live broadcasts.
Technological advances in theatre have made it possible for the productions to continue in a socially distant manner.
“Our performances and crew will be performing in real-time as the audience watches, just as in a regular theatre,” said David Coley, assistant professor of theatre. “Though our actors will be performing in separate spaces, our technology will bring together their performances.”
The season kicked off last week with Lauren Gunderson’s “The Revolutionists.”
“Technology in theatre has skyrocketed,” said Monica Hayes, professor of theatre and director of the season opener. “It has been an adventure preparing this production.”
For the virtual showroom and more information regarding tickets for upcoming events, visit usm.edu/spva.