To slow the spread of COVID-19, Michigan State University has directed all departments to take steps to protect the health and safety of MSU students, faculty, staff, visitors and loved ones. With that in mind, MSU Theatre has made the necessary decision not to present the originally scheduled productions for 2020-21. Instead, we will produce multiple, small-scale experimental projects that will be presented in a variety of formats throughout the year.
We understand that this may be disappointing; we have all put so much energy into the season and were excited by the prospect of putting on these productions. During this period of change, we have the opportunity to veer away from our traditional working processes to explore the ways in which we might produce creative work with novel techniques that protect our safety but still allow us to work collaboratively to produce live experiences for audiences.
Our goal with the experimental projects is to offer an opportunity to pivot our practices to speak to the importance of having conversations about the pressing issues of the world around us related to this unprecedented time. We hope that our topics will include themes ranging from the racial equality and social justice that is at the heart of the current anti-racist movement, to grassroots political activism surrounding the presidential election. Our artistic response to current events will bring life to contemporary performances, allowing our community to engage in public civic discourse through innovative and novel experiences.
While the format of the season is unfamiliar, the collaborative spirit we share as students and faculty in the processes of producing, directing, designing, performing, and event management will be familiar. We will provide opportunities for our students to participate in this exciting diversion from traditional practice and for our audiences to experience our experimental season.
Our mission includes a promise to challenge the traditional in order to create something new and to provide enhanced understanding of current issues through theatrical expression. A lot of challenges have been thrown our way in 2020, but we remain invested in our students’ education this semester and beyond.
Stephen Di Benedetto, Ph.D.
Professor & Chairperson
Department of Theatre
College of Arts & Letters
Michigan State University
542 Auditorium Rd. #117
East Lansing, MI 48824