Theatre makers have managed to find a way to create art all through the pandemic virtually. With Spring in our reach, it’s time to get out from behind the Zoom screen and out in the open air for some outdoor theatre. Have the perfect play? Eyeing your location? We have you covered on planning your successful #outdoortheatrewin.
Location, Location, Location
Once you know the park, yard, field, parking-lot you will perform in, check your local Health Department restrictions and protocols for gathering.
Questions you will need to answer:
- What is number of people you can have in your outdoor space?
- Do they need to bring chairs?
- Should you need to mark out spaces for audience to place their chairs and blankets?
- Do you need a police officer/crossing guard in accordance with your area’s rules? What are the fees and how will that effect your budget?
Looking for an #OutdoorTheatreWin? Check out these Stage Partners plays appropriate for an outdoor setting.
Don’t let weather rain on your parade! In your pre-production meetings with your team, discuss:
- What is your protocol for rain?hat is number of people you can have in your outdoor space?
- Do you have time/space to have a rain date? When you do make the call and how do you alert your patrons?
- Download some weather apps!
Find Your LIGHT!
You may be performing in the evening, away from the summer sun. Make sure your actors can still be seen!
- Know your sunsets. Adjust your start time accordingly.
- Will you have lighting equipment, or do you need to rely on streetlamps and the stars?
- Using equipment? Be sure it’s protected in the event of rain and be sure to secure your equipment to the ground.
Want to keep up to date with the latest scripts, lessons, and resources?
Acting in the Open Air
As I’m sure you have discovered, acting outdoors requires some different skills from acting in the theatre! Be sure your ensemble is prepared.
- Diction is your friend. Even if you are fortunate enough to be mic-ing your actors, hitting your consonants, will ensure your sound will travel, without blowing your voice.
- Rehearse outside as much as you can.
- Expect the unexpected. Birds, wandering toddlers, the noises of nearby traffic…Plan with your actors when/how/if they should react.
- No green room? Plan where your actors with change into costume, use the restroom, and lock their valuables.
Interested in finding out how a director puts their plan into action? Check out our Q&A with veteran outdoor theatre director, Claire Kelly of Rowayton, Connecticut’s Shakespeare on the Sound.
Maria McConville has been a NYC Public School teaching artist since 2005. In the past she has worked with the Theatre Development Fund, LeAP! Onstage, and Periwinkle Theater for Youth, and as a Shakespeare and Playwriting teaching artist with Theatre For A New Audience. Her students have performed and adapted the work of Shakespeare, written their own plays, devised ensemble performance pieces, sang and danced in musical productions, and performed their peers work on a Broadway stage. Maria is also the playwright of #Censored and #Viral (Stage Partners) and other plays.