Theatre in the time of COVID

The University of Central Oklahoma Department of Theatre Arts has experienced many changes in student performance this semester. 

Due mainly to the Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing changes in department structures have taken place across the campus. Students have had even smaller classroom settings and cancellation of shows and dance recitals. 

For students who are scheduled to graduate and hope to create a career in the industry, live performance is a key part of development for future success and exposure. 

Kato Buss, interim assistant dean of the Department of Theatre Arts said faculty had to implement serious changes before fall semester. 

“All the staff took summer courses to learn how to keep the environment safe for the students,” Buss said.

Because the virus easily spreads from person to person, safety precautions are an important part of the transition. Teachers and students are not able to be hands on as they would like to be in order to help them refine their craft. 

“The notion of wearing a mask and having physical distancing is a real challenge,” Buss added.

With theater, art, and dance being some of the first businesses shut down, Buss believes that it will also be the last to come out of the pandemic and back to reality. The idea of utilizing outdoor performances is gaining traction. 

“The idea of performing outside, or the man on the street concept will be very beneficial for the students and department,” Buss added. 

Sophomore Hilary Winkleman, believes the saying “the show must go on” to be more true now than ever.

“I knew I wanted to be a part of the live theater and that it was where I wanted to be,” said Winkleman, who has always had a passion for community theater and the arts. 

Winkleman added that she sees the department pushing forward and attempting to keep COVID-19 from spreading within its ranks. 

“It’s worth it. It’s a challenge and everything worth doing will be at some point,” Winkleman. 

For now students and faculty alike will continue to mask up, because following the guidelines set, is how the show can go on.

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