The Show Goes On at Kent: School Theatre During the Pandemic


Cora Partridge, Campus Reporter

Performing arts have been one of the most challenged industries during this pandemic, due to the intrinsically in-person nature of theatre. It is rather difficult to put on productions to the same standard, or at all, if all performers must be masked and six feet apart at all times, as demonstrated by the closing of Broadway and almost all playhouses for the duration of the pandemic. The arts are incredibly resilient, however, and the show must go–is going–on.

Here at Kent, our Theatre Program is rising to overcome the hurdles of staging productions safely, as well as incorporating both on campus and virtual performances. While many normal opportunities could not be offered, such as Theatre club and play readings, the fall saw the performance of Game of Tiaras, an original mashup of Disney and Game of Thrones. “We were able to mix performances that were recorded on video with live action on the stage.” said Mr. Stewart, Director of the Theatre Program. 

The spring musical is also planned to incorporate off-campus learners through the monologues and dance solos peppered throughout the show. “Musicals are a little bit of a different animal, because it is difficult to synchronize the work of people who are off campus musically with the work of people who are on campus, but the musical we chose, which is called Working, has many solo musical numbers and it has many speeches by characters which are sort of self-standing within the show.”

Lanna Kennedy is a new third former at Kent and is involved in both music and Drama here on campus. Most recently she played several roles in the One Acts, which were wonderful to watch. Discussing how her rehearsals work, she shared that “We obviously all have to be masked, and during rehearsal, we are six feet apart. That’s how the staging is, but eventually we won’t have to social distance when we do the actual performance.” 

In addition, for anyone interested in trying out drama without too much pressure, she definitely recommends trying out the One Acts next year. “The One Acts are just really fun, because they’re like smaller, shorter plays and anyone can start at any talent level. Everyone really just builds each other up, even though we have masks on.”

Despite our present difficulties, the fact that Kent has been able to offer theatre in person at all is a testament to the hard work of our administrators and to all of the students, living with the new and challenging regulations necessary to keep our campus open. 

To any students looking to take advantage of the performing opportunities we are so fortunate to have, Lanna gave a handful of wise words. Although cliché, they are tried and true, the time tested, “Believe in yourself.”