This year hasn’t been very kind to the performing arts, and it looks like 2021 (at least the beginning of it) may not be much nicer. The Alley Theatre announced this week that it has cancelled all live performances for its 2020-2021 season, a decision made in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
While audiences will have to wait to pontificate in the pub with rival playwrights Shakespeare and Marlowe in Liz Duffy Adams’s Born With Teeth (originally planned for January 22–February 14, 2021), watch Vladimir and Estragon ceaselessly linger in Samuel Beckett’s modern classic Waiting for Godot (March 5–28, 2021), or get their blast from the past in Vichet Chum’s High School Play: A Nostalgia Fest (July 9–August 1, 2021) any time soon, at least we know we’ll still have the chance to see these shows one day as the Alley team says it’s still fully committed to staging all of its previously planned shows in future seasons.
But that’s not all they said. See, the creative team at the Alley, master artists that they are, know how to deliver a little joy with their dose of tragedy. In light of cancelling the in-person season, the company is pivoting to an all-digital season. And the best part is it’ll be entirely free.
"Like so many of you, I, too, am disappointed to have to cancel our on-stage season,” Artistic Director Rob Melrose said in a statement. “I can't wait to gather in the Hubbard and the Neuhaus to experience live theater with you again. At the same time, I am delighted about all the work we are creating on [email protected], and I am excited to share a robust digital season.”
This new digital replacement will feature a mix of different content, ranging from translations of short classic plays; to new original shorts written by alumni of the company’s Alley All New initiative, which supports up-and-coming playwrights; and even the occasional full-length play. With 11 slated productions, including one reading, it’s a huge increase from the Alley’s previously planned season shakeup, which had been truncated down to just six shows from its usually packed schedule.
Since launching [email protected] in March, the Alley is quickly becoming something of an old hat when it comes to digital performances. According to the release, its virtual production of 1984, which garnered national attention, was enjoyed by audiences in 48 states and nine countries, and, so far, more than 175,000 folks have signed up to see its free online production of A Christmas Carol, which becomes available on December 4.
“The digital medium affords us the opportunity to grow our audience for work we normally put on our stages and to explore a wider range of plays than we can offer live and in-person,” said Melrose.
See the full schedule of the Alley’s now all-digital season below:
Alley Theatre All Digital 2020–2021 Season
The Stronger: Jan 15–Feb 7, 2021 *
A Half-Sheet of Paper: Jan 22–Feb 14, 2021 *
The Man with the Flower in His Mouth: Feb 12–Mar 14, 2021 *
Euripides’s Medea: March 5 – April 4, 2021 ∆
El Chuco Town Forever: Apr 2–May 2, 2021 +
Choosing Love: Apr 2–May 2, 2021 +
Man. Kind: Apr 9–May 9, 2021 +
For Steve Wozniak, on His 67th Birthday: Apr 9–May 9, 2021 +
Old Black and White Hollywood: Apr 16—May 16, 2021 ∆~
Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People: Apr 30–May 30, 2021 ∆
Pariah: June 4–July 4, 2021 *
* translation of a classic short play
+ New short play from an All New Alley alum
∆ Full-length play
~Alley All New Reading