Next Actors: Online 2020 – Next Act Theatre

Next Actors: Online 2020

Next Actors: Online 2020

By Grace DeWolff, Education Manager

Health and safety concerns continue with in-person gatherings due to the presence of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. We didn’t feel safe scheduling an on-site summer session with our Next Actors students. However, with supportive and enthusiastic feedback from our alumni, we have created an online summer program focused on the playwriting process – free for any high school student or Next Actor alum to join.

We held a Next Actors alumni meeting in May, where students brainstormed ideas for the summer. Musical podcasts were mentioned, along with projects they’ve already done at school through the video conferencing app Zoom. The consensus among teenagers (and, I venture to guess, everyone) is that Zoom chats can get exhausting. In response, I think we’ve built an online summer curriculum that students will enjoy participating in, including:

  • weekly live video chats
  • short, daily video messages through an app called Flipgrid that can be recorded any time in response to a video prompt
  • keeping pen-and-ink journals
  • tracking our physical activity goals
  • writing and collaborating through Google Docs

Ultimately, our goal is to create an original piece performed by the students themselves. Their perfomance will be recorded, edited and uploaded online in August.

The students are hopeful that by the end of July, perhaps there will be a way to safely get together in-person for some activities – just maybe not everyone all at once. They’re already brainstorming creative solutions for a live audience experience, if that’s available to us by the end of the summer. I have utmost confidence in our young people to be the incredibly resilient and creative students they always have been and I look forward to experiencing the art they’ll create this summer.