The show must go on; how local theatre stays lively during a pandemic

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The COVID-19 pandemic has been quite the showstopper this year. With regular seasons being canceled, local theatre companies have been finding ways to adapt in these hard times.

Having directed many theatre performances throughout his career, Luke Tatge has always has his eyes on what comes next. What he couldn’t see though was what the impact of COVID-19 would have on local theatre.

“It’s been rough; the nice thing about it is that a lot of companies have found an opportunity to get creative, try new things, some things that will last beyond the pandemic,” Tatge said.

The pandemic has him thinking about performances in a broad way. His Goodnight Theatre Collective has been putting on outdoor shows as an alternative. However, it wasn’t an easy transition.

“We have to deal with street noise: sirens, planes – that whole fun activity,” Tatge said.

Local actor Simon Floss says that while traditional stages may have gone dark, some new opportunities have lit the way.

“We started doing these things called ‘Goodnight Garden Parties’ where we collaborate with other local theatre companies and just have a safe space to continue to be able to put on art,” Floss said.

A Goodnight Garden Party. Photo: Luke Tatge

They hold the performances in the Washington Pavilion’s sculpture garden. While audiences have been smaller this season, the space gives them more room to distance and have a less confinement.

“You kind of have to walk that line between people making decisions for their health, people being anxious about it, but the key thing that we’ve been trying to spread is that as long as you’re making the effort, you’re asking people to wear masks, you’re spreading out, you’re trying things outdoors, that’s what really matters,” Tatge said.

Photo: Luke Tatge

While things are certainly different, what remains the same is their love to give the people an escape from everyday troubles.

“It gives you a chance to just forget about the stresses of the everyday world, and in a time like this where everything is really, really heavy, we need that more than ever,” Floss said.

The Goodnight Theatre Collective’s latest show Monster Mash debuts this Thursday night at 6:30. Visit the Collective’s website for more information on the show and ticketing.

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