What’s the Theater Program Doing During COVID?


Courtesy of Hunter Lang

Students perform in “Melancholy” in 2019

Tiara Starks, Entertainment Editor

COVID-19 has made it difficult for live theater to make its comeback, prefacing what the future of professional theater will look like as of now. As the university continues to uphold its social distancing policies, the theater program on campus has had to adapt similarly to the Broadway scene with updated regulations to live events.

“The Fall 2020 production season is designed to be rehearsed and performed in a way that offers flexibility and adaptability as circumstances dictate, whether in small venues for limited audiences, using online platforms (e.g., Twitch, YouTube, Discord), or developing other new models for live performance says Margaret Savilonis, an associate professor for the university’s Division of the Performing Arts and a co-coordinator of the theater program. Savilonis will direct the science-fiction play, “R.U.R.” by Karel Čapek, which will be performed virtually Nov. 11-14. “R.U.R.” will be streamed online as part of the digital fall season and rehearsals will be arranged for remote and safe socially-distanced sessions.

Another performance will come from the Community Impact course, an offering from the theater program that brings important messages to light through performance. “The class content centers on theater that inspires, informs, and explores pressing national and global issues, and helps to bring them to the fore[front] in compelling and evocative ways,” said Jonathan Yukich, practitioner-in-residence, and co-coordinator of the theater program.

“From the pandemic to racial justice to the mounting devastation of our planet due to climate change, among other issues,” said Yukich.

The exact date for the production is still to be determined but will take place sometime in November.

The university’s student-run theater club has remained active as well. In a statement from theater club president, Stefania Sassano, the club has continued engaging its members and offering events and opportunities for people to enjoy theater.

“The University of New Haven Theater Club has adapted to the COVID-19 regulations by holding meetings virtually via Zoom,” said Sassano. We do everything from viewings to discussions, to play readings, all from the comfort of our homes/dorms. Even though we are not meeting in person, we still manage to involve ourselves in theater in a way we believe is the safest for us.”

The Theater Club meets over Zoom every Thursday from 4 pm-5 pm. Email [email protected] for more information.

Contact Prof. Margaret Savilonis at [email protected] and Jonathan Yukich at [email protected] to learn more about the Theater Program and ways to get involved.