Many communities and industries have taken a huge hit over the last year due to COVID-19, one of the worst being live theatre. However, Philadelphia’s vibrant theatre scene is proving it’s ready to make its comeback.
This week, Theatre Philadelphia kicked off its 4th Annual Philly Theatre Week with 75 unique performances ranging from virtual, outdoor and in-person showings.
In an interview with Michael Stahler, Philadelphia-based actor, director and playwright; he spoke candidly about how the community has been inspiring him to embrace the virtual space.
“It’s so inspiring that people are so driven to create art no matter what that consists of,” said Stahler, who is in two virtual shows: Business Casual, a collection of workplace comedies, and But Not Uncle Vanya, an existentialist take on Chekov’s classic play Uncle Vanya.
“The Philly theatre scene is such a community and Theatre Week makes me hopeful that it will possibly return in person sometime soon. There is a fear that once we emerge from the pandemic: how will theatre fair, will it still even exist in its current form? But even if it doesn’t exist in its current form, even if it has to adapt, I still think there’s hope. The two productions that we’ve put on really play with the medium and create something special, unique and entertaining with these constraints,” Stahler said.
Despite the challenges that come with trying to revive live theatre amidst the pandemic, the community is proving to be more than ready to overcome them to bring life to their art.
“When it comes back maybe we won’t have as many of the big booming box office shows but there’s still an active community that, as demonstrated by how many people are participating in theatre week, is still hungry to jump back and commit themselves to the art again,” said Stahler.
If you’re new to the Philly theatre scene or live theatre in general, rest assured that Philly Theatre week has something for you. With 75 shows to choose from, Philly Theatre Week doesn’t just feature plays. Audience members can enjoy readings, workshops, panels, one person shows, improv, magic shows and much more!
Shows range from being free, $15 or $30 but audience members are encouraged to pay what they can as a donation to support their favorite theatres and artists. Audience members also have the option to donate to Theatre Philadelphia’s Emergency Relief program which helps provide financial relief to theatres and artists whose careers were directly affected by the pandemic.
Philly Theatre Week is running now through May 2nd. You can catch Michael’s performances in Business Casual and But Not Uncle Vanya and many other virtual performances anytime over the next 9 days by securing your ticket through TheatrePhiladelphia.org.