Performing Arts: Theater
January 9, 2021
When APAP members gathered for the opening session, there was a collective sigh of delight to see colleagues and friends back together again. Not surprisingly, discussions swirled around the use of internet platforms to disseminate performances. Ideas about virtual reality -- the 3-D immersion format -- surfaced as an optional platform. Everyone agreed it was a time for imagination and flexibility to prevail.

Financial concerns prevailed peppering discussions about federal assistance and decisions to charge or not charge for digital performances. Divided in their approaches, everyone was unified in the desire to pay artists for work, whether new or old. A country's roaring appetite for content buoyed the conversation about creating virtual programming while noting the arts community was now inhabiting the same digital space as Netflix.

Jed Wheeler pointed out that Montclair University's Peak Performances reputation and avid audience was solely built on the artists who graced Montclair stages. For that reason, delivering new commissions overrode the pay-for-view format. OF course, Wheeler's in a coveted position because university leaders support his vision.

Another effective model saw presenters streaming free programs and relying on donations. Ultimately, everyone hopes for live performances returning in some capacity by the end of 2021 and start of 2022. Of course, all indicators point to the continuation of digital programming, in some form or another.

Although the field is shaken, they still stir with passion and consideration.
EYE ON THE ARTS/NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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