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Raleigh Little Theatre postpones 2020-21 season, but gears up for virtual summer camps, teen performance

Posted June 29, 2020 9:00 p.m. EDT

Raleigh Little Theatre is serving up an old English classic with a Southern twist. Shakespeare's "As You Like It" will be set to bluegrass music.

— Raleigh Little Theatre, whose family shows regularly sell out each season, announced that it is postponing its entire 2020-21 season. That includes its popular annual run of Cinderella, a longtime tradition for families each December.

"Based on new safety guidelines, especially in regard to social distancing requirements for audiences, performers, and volunteers, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to completely postpone our 2020/2021 season," according to the announcement.

The upcoming season included family shows "Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play!," "Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook" and "The Surprising Story of the Three Little Pigs."

The community theater near downtown Raleigh is working to reschedule the season. Artistic Director Patrick Torres and Executive Director Heather Strickland explained the decision in this announcement.

But, as they made the tough decision to postpone the season, they also are working to reimagine what theater might look like going forward during a prolonged pandemic.

"We have to figure out creative new ways to connect with you, and we're on a mission to do that," Torres said in the announcement. "We want to really take this year to redefine what it means to be a community theater."

Raleigh Little Theatre already has begun to make that transition. Its Teens On Stage/Teens Backstage program will present "She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms," a play that's been designed to be performed live in an online setting. It is scheduled to open — virtually — July 24.

And in place of its usual camps, the theater is moving forward with a slate of virtual programs for kids this summer. Camps are offered for preschoolers through high school students and take place via Zoom.

"While we cannot replace the highly social, energetic and collaborative environment that a full, in-person summer camp experience brings, we have been pleasantly surprised by how much drama and theatre we ARE able to do using technology," according to the website. "We still believe theatre is an excellent vehicle for human connection, and we need that now more than ever."

More information about the camps is on Raleigh Little Theatre's website.