Today is Sunday, July 12, 2020
A word of caution from your editors. There are some "Live" events on the schedule. We strongly urge you to follow CDC protocols if attending these. Statistics suggest a direct correlation between states with relaxed standards and the recent dramatic rise in COVID hospitalizations. We all want to get out and interact with live actors and audiences, especially as Summer Camps approach presentation time. Please be smart about it!
Welcome to the Buzz Pro-Tem, an effort to celebrate how Theatre artists are navigating the pandemic restrictions, and how new means of distribution are being "Beta-Tested."
We will be promoting On-Line events, both at the local and national level, announcing any non-cancelled camps and classes, and providing links to pursue further opportunities of participation and engagement.
I firmly believe that Atlanta Theatre will return stronger than ever and that the new technologies will open many opportunities for creativity, expression, and networking.
Of course the "old Buzz" is being saved, so it will one day (soon one hopes) return not unchanged and not unbowed.
OUR NEW MENU:
HOME is of course this page, which will contain editorial thoughts, announced seasonal schedules, special events, and information designed to support the entire community,
LOCAL STREAM will contain promos and links to content by local artists and theatres
NATIONAL STREAM will contain the same, but for more Outside-the-Georgia sources
CLASSES AND CAMPS will continue promos on any "Real Life" AND Virtual Camps and Classes
AUDITIONS is what it always was, and will now include any streaming audition opportunities that cross my desk, as well as writing opportunities
REVIEWS 2020 is a reminder of the year through March, and, perhaps, a touchstone for what we are working towards.
NEW JOB ANNOUNCEMENTS
Soon after taking on the role of General Manager, Aurora Theatre names Katie Pelkey to become the organization’s first ever Managing Director. Pelkey will work alongside the Board of Directors to provide executive leadership for the organization, with oversight and implementation of operational, fundraising and administrative areas for the second largest professional theatre in Georgia.
The Board of Directors of the Center for Puppetry Arts has named Beth Schiavo Executive Director effective July 1. Schiavo has been serving as Interim Managing Director since January, following the retirement of the Center’s founder, Vincent Anthony.
City Springs Theatre Company has hired Kayce Grogan Wallace as its first casting director.
City Springs Theatre Executive/Artistic Director Brandt Blocker has made it a priority to increase the number of black, indigenous, and artists of color in the company’s principal casting. Mr. Blocker recently hosted a roundtable discussion with black artists who have performed at City Springs, including Mrs. Wallace, regarding more diversity in casting. “It is clear to me that having another decision maker of color on our staff will help to increase the opportunities for our community of BIPOC artists,” said Blocker. “Having worked with Kayce for many years, she is infinitely qualified to manage the casting duties for our company, as she is not only one of Atlanta’s most respected artists, but she is also intimately familiar with the talent in town. I have always admired Kayce’s professionalism, talent, and experience, and I am truly grateful to work more closely with her on our productions.”
If you have any information you would like included on this platform, please E-Mail me at , or go to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theatrebuzzatlanta/
Elm Street Cultural Arts Center Sister Act, The Musical, Legally Blonde, The Musical, and James and the Giant Peach will be part of the 20/21 season (Dates TBA)
Actor's Express Desire Under the Elms will be part of the 2021 Season
Synchronicity Theatre The Bluest Eye June 2021
Act 3 Productions June Camps have been moved to the fall 2020 and spring 2021
Players' Guild @ Sugar Hill Blithe Spirit has been scheduled for August 7 -16
Serenbe Playhouse has cancelled all productions and is currently reorganizing.
New Dawn Theatre Company has decided to permanently close.
The American Musical Theatre Festival has been postponed until Autumn 2021.
Need a "Leg Up" on turning depressing quarantine into joyous elation?
Check Out Danny Crowe's LIFT UP ARTISTS series on You Tube
Sing the Praises of our Peers!
This project aims to assemble artists from around the country to celebrate their collaborators! Which we often forget to do! With how high pressured and rejection filled the arts industry is, sometimes we all need a little bit of a boost!
EPISODE 2 (Women's History Month)
EPISODE 4 (Pride Month)
Please share and save the date: Sep. 30 - Oct. 3
Visit AtlantaBTF.org for more info.
Theatrical Outfit & The City of Atlanta Honors
Retiring As Artistic Director After 25 Years
After 25 years as the Artistic Director of downtown Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit (T.O.), Tom Key retires from the position on June 30, 2020. The City of Atlanta and Fulton County are honoring the veteran actor, director and arts leader with proclamations and Theatrical Outfit is naming its new Apprenticeship Program in his honor.
“The board began planning retirement festivities for Tom at the same time that we were launching plans to build our first-ever Apprentice program,” said Board Chair Ed Laity. “We quickly decided that naming this emerging artist program for Tom was so appropriate, given his years of mentoring young, professional talent in the city.”
The Tom Key Artistic Leadership Program will welcome its first class of interns in July 2020, and each will receive a 12-month practical apprenticeship at T.O, along with a salary.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms presented Key with the Phoenix Award, saying, “The city of Atlanta is proud to celebrate Tom Key’s legacy, which has strengthened Atlanta’s rich artistic heritage and forever transformed our city.” The City of Atlanta also named June 30, 2020, Tom Key Day thanks to Council Member Amir Farokhi. Fulton County and Commissioner Natalie Hall also honored Key by declaring June 28, 2020, as Tom Key Appreciation Day.
Fulton County’s proclamation reads: “Tom is one of Atlanta’s most prominent and celebrated actors and has appeared in over 100 productions at theatres from off Broadway to Los Angeles. Under his leadership as Artistic Director, Theatrical Outfit has developed into one of Atlanta’s premiere performing arts institutions.”
Key became Artistic Director of Atlanta’s second-oldest professional theatre company in 1995. He moved it from midtown to downtown’s Rialto Center for the Arts in 1999, and in 2005 led the theatre through the creation of its award-winning downtown home, the Balzer Theater at Herren’s. The Balzer Theater is the historical site of Herren’s, the first restaurant in Atlanta to voluntarily desegregate in 1962 and is the first U.S. theater to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Key’s programming of classics, regional and world premieres, and musicals explore themes of diversity, equality, ethnicity, and race.
Although Key is retiring from the Outfit, he does not plan to fade from the limelight. He intends to continue acting, directing and writing new works. His successor, Matt Torney, takes the helm on July 1.
“Tom has been an inspirational leader and has done incredible work at Theatrical Outfit over the past 25 years,” said Torney. “I am overjoyed to have his enthusiastic endorsement, and look forward to working with him on a mindful and smooth transition. Our philosophies are aligned and embodied in Theatrical Outfit’s mission to start conversations that matter—conversations that can lead to a more compassionate and just community.”
About Tom Key
Tom Key has served as Artistic Director of Theatrical Outfit since 1995 where, in the heart of downtown Atlanta, his drive to produce world class theatre that starts the conversations that matter has developed the company into one of the city’s major performing arts institutions. He has appeared in over a 100 productions from off-Broadway to Los Angeles including: Arena Stage, Alliance Theatre, The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, The Atlanta Opera, The Atlanta Ballet, The Westwood Playhouse, and (of course) Theatrical Outfit. Directing assignments highlights at Theatrical Outfit include: Horton Foote’s The Chase, Dividing the Estate, and Memphis. Since 1977 he has toured internationally the one-person show, C.S. Lewis On Stage, which he adapted from the writings of the author of The Screwtape Letters and The Chronicles of Narnia. It has been performed at the John F. Kennedy Center, Harvard, Yale, and Oxford University. In 2004, Key wrote and performed under the direction of Susan V. Booth, a monologue for the world premiere of Leap, at The Alliance Theater. He is perhaps most celebrated nationally for creating, starring in, and co-authoring with Russell Treyz and the late Harry Chapin the off-Broadway musical hit, Cotton Patch Gospel. Film and television highlights include: the upcoming Jon Stewart film, Irresistible, ‘Bluff City Law,’ ‘Doom Patrol,’ and ‘Sistas.’ Key has received The Governor’s Award in the Humanities for contributing to the quality of life of Georgians; the Georgia Arts and Entertainment Legacy Award, and three Mayoral proclamations for his service to the City of Atlanta. Creative Loafing describes Tom Key as: “An actor with such energy that even standing still, he seems to quiver like a divining rod.”
Atlanta Theatre Artists for Justice is a Facebook group for members of the Atlanta Theatre Community to organize support for the response to the murder of George Floyd and the BLM Movement. Use this group: - To share information about peaceful protests going on throughout the Metro-Atlanta area. - To meet up with others to attend protests as a unit and keep each other safe. - To provide assistance (providing waters, babysitting, petsitting, giving rides) if not able to attend the protests in person. - To do safety check-ins following the protests, especially if there is police intervention. I understand that there are countless issues in our community in regards to the lack of action from the institutions we work for. But please keep this group about how WE act and how WE respond. The moderators reserve the right to keep this a safe, peaceful group.
Over 50 arts organizations (and counting!) have united to showcase online events and digital content for all you shut-ins at home who are missing your regular doses of theatre, music, dance, film and the visual arts! There are also ideas for creative ways you can engage. Keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening at ArtBeatsATL.com! And please spread the love.
ABOUT ART BEATS ATLANTA
Art Beats Atlanta (Art Beats) is a co-op of Atlanta-area arts and culture organizations with a mission to increase engagement between the public and the vibrant professional arts community of the greater Atlanta area. Originally created at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a space to share innovative online arts programming, the long-term goal is to continue to build Art Beats into a platform promoting Atlanta’s vibrant arts ecology.
Construction continues on highly anticipated arts center in Downtown Lawrenceville
$31-million performing arts center progresses in partnership between Aurora Theatre and City of Lawrenceville
Steadfast in their investment and dedication to the region, Aurora Theatre and the City of Lawrenceville today announced construction progress on the highly anticipated Lawrenceville Performing Arts Center (LPAC) – the soon-to-be expanded home of Gwinnett’s only professional theater, Aurora Theatre. Construction and expansion of the facility began in June 2019 and will continue in phases until the scheduled completion in spring 2021, including structural, mechanical and electrical design updates of the four anticipated venues.
Located across the street from the Gwinnett County Historic Courthouse, the new 55,000 square-foot space will house a 525-seat theater; Cabaret; indoor and outdoor civic spaces; and rooms for office and educational programming. The project has resulted in numerous jobs for those deemed essential workers – an unforeseen yet advantageous impact on the local community during these challenging times.
“Art is vital to nourishing community. Its need is even more apparent under the circumstances we are all facing. We are grateful that the construction on the campus expansion never stopped, creating jobs and bringing hope for the future of our county,” said Ann-Carol Pence, Co-Founder of Aurora Theatre. “I sincerely hope this innovative partnership between our non-profit organization and the City of Lawrenceville will serve as a model for other cities across the nation. This city understands that we must invest in the foundation of the arts together, so that the arts truly serve the community in ways that inspire, educate and heal our people."
Cranes were erected and precast panels arrived to the site in the beginning of May. These deliveries are expected to continue over the next weeks, building out the rest of the buildings including the Main Theatre area. City officials have ensured that the buildings’ infrastructure will retain the architecture of the historic square in downtown Lawrenceville.
This unprecedented partnership between Aurora Theatre and the City of Lawrenceville serves as a model for other city and county governments to partner with arts organizations, which serve as the heartbeat of local communities. Performances at Aurora Theatre are currently suspended temporarily due to coronavirus concerns, but the theater continues to engage with audiences through digital programming alternatives. Aurora Theatre is eager to serve the community with live performing arts again!
A Letter to the Community: Local theatres respond to the coronavirus pandemic
Below is an open letter from a group of Atlanta theatres, which was published by Atlanta InTown Paper. We'd like to share it with you.
To Our Local Theatre Fans, Friends, and Family:
Right now is an unprecedented time for our community, and the local theatre community will likely be hit especially hard. COVID-19 has caused a great deal of change, and we are all facing a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Currently, our leaders are making the hard but necessary choice to ban mass gatherings of people, and nobody is sure how long this may go on for. This directly affects theatres, as we will most likely be unable to host shows and sell tickets for an extended period of time. Theatres are facing a major loss in revenue because of this. In addition to the impact on our organizations, the performers, artisans, and administrative staff of local theatres are also likely to have personal financial struggles through the coming weeks.
We are coming to you now to ask for your continued support of local theatre, even as we
temporarily shutter our doors. There are three easy ways you can help support us through these uncertain times: make a donation, buy a gift certificate, and talk to your legislators.
Make a donation. All of the theatres listed in this letter are nonprofit organizations. That means that we re-invest any profits we make back into our mission, rather than paying shareholders. As nonprofit organizations, it also means we can accept tax-deductible donations! This is by far the best thing you can do right now to support your local theatres. A pledge for monthly support is also a wonderful way to provide sustained support as we work to recover in the coming months. Finally, if you bought a ticket to a show that gets cancelled, consider turning the cost of that ticket into a donation, rather than asking for a refund.
Buy a gift certificate. Many local theatres have the ability to issue gift certificates that patrons can use for future shows. Please check with the theatres you frequent, and inquire if they can sell a gift certificate. Treat your future self to a night of entertainment, and once life returns to normal we look forward to welcoming you into our theatres!
Talk to your legislators. In the coming weeks there will likely be bills put forth on the state and national levels for economic relief for those affected by COVID-19. Please reach out to your legislators and let them know that nonprofit arts organizations and artists should be included in these relief packages.
We can make it through this together, but local theatres need your support to help weather this storm. Even once COVID-19 passes, theatres will still be facing financial gaps and tight budgets, and will likely be asking for your donation to offset our losses. Please have patience with us. We are all dedicated to bringing you amazing theatrical experiences
We look forward to seeing you once again at our theatres. Until then, stay safe and healthy.
This too shall pass.
Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Center for Puppetry Arts
City Springs Theatre
Dad’s Garage Theatre
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
Horizon Theatre Company
Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre
Out Front Theatre Company
Stage Door Players
Theatre du Reve
AN OPEN LETTER FROM ROB BROOKSHER
Theatres and theatre artists across the country are facing a potential existential threat due to COVID-19. Most theatre artists live on a paycheck to paycheck, gig to gig basis and have to supplement their art with a second and oftentimes third part-time job.
Many of these artists might soon find themselves out of work, and as the infection rates continue, we will, guaranteed, have members of our community under quarantine, unable to leave their house and unable to earn an income. To many ATL artists, this will be a devastating financial blow.
I've started this campaign to do as much as I can for my friends and peers who will be affected. A lot of things are still falling into place, but the first steps of where your money goes are:
- Purchasing of food supplies for a frozen meal prep volunteering group that will create a meal train for those who are quarantined or financially in need due to being out of work, delivering nutritious food and supplies to the doorsteps of those artists who are in financial need.
- Purchasing of necessary essentials for artists in financial need (pain medications, fever reducers, electrolytes, etc)
**NONE OF THIS MONEY WILL GO TO ME, JUST DOING MY PART :) **
Please consider donating if you have the means, and please share! CLICK HERE TO DONATE
If you are interested in volunteering/organizing, please visit our Facebook group:
Atlanta Artist Emergency Relief Volunteers
Stay safe out there!