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New Stage Theatre hosts virtual sessions to stay COVID-19 safe

Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 11:02 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - New Stage Theatre is closed but with the help of the internet, the show will go on.

Artistic Director Francine Reynolds and her team hosted a different kind of play rehearsal, Wednesday.

“We decided that we wanted to still engage with the audience. So we developed this virtual theater series and the series is alternates between a play reading a virtual play reading of a new play and conversations," said Reynolds.

The auditorium has been empty for months. All play productions were put on hold when the coronavirus spread through Mississippi.

“We don’t want to lose touch with what we do. If it not only feeds us financially. It feeds our souls. We don’t want theater to go unnoticed," said Reynolds.

The theater found a new stage, in the digital world. Actors come together using Zoom video calling every Thursday.

The livestreams are free. Reynolds said the a real life production might not happen until next year.

New Stage is a non-profit organization that relies heavily on ticket sales, “so our budget has changed quite a bit because we’re not producing. We’re not putting money into that. We’re still producing virtual and that does take some funding,” said Reynolds.

Thanks to federal funds and donations, Reynolds said the virtual theater will stay as long as it can.

“I think Arts are vital and especially during this time because they serve as a way for people to connect with each other.Theater is what we do and if we don’t continue to do it, I feel like we’re not doing what we are supposed to be doing," said Reynolds.

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