Bloomington's Professional Theater Company

Bloomington's Professional Theater Company

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HT: Cardinal Stage presents pandemic-friendly activities

July 19, 2020

Joel Pierson | H-T Columnist


It’s that time of year when theater companies are announcing what’s coming in the upcoming year. Although, as you well know by this point, everything is stamped with a big ol’ “subject to change.” Still, Cardinal Stage is soldiering on with a lineup of patron-safe activities to start off the new season—at least through the fall.


They’re launching what’s called Artistic Adventures. As their artistic director, Kate Galvin, explains, “As we’ve been considering how to best serve our patrons and artists, I’ve been focusing on the three pillars that I set for myself when I joined Cardinal — creating theater that engages the mind, touches the soul, and strengthens the community. The goal of this Artistic Adventure is to bring theater into your lives in new and exciting ways and to provide opportunities for you to create art in the community.”


The adventures include the Family Photo Challenge, in which Cardinal challenges families to recreate a classic fairy tale using only 10 original photos. Participants can get creative with costumes, locations and props and share their story on social media. New challenges will be announced every month. This is a free event. Watch their website and Facebook page for details.


For the adults comes a new series called Play Dates. (No, not that kind! Honestly.) Play Dates is a monthly book club for theater. Each month, the group will read a different play or musical and meet to discuss it. You’ll need to purchase your own copy of each script, and then you can join the Zoom meeting at 7 pm the last Wednesday of each month.


Also coming this fall is Cardinal at Home, for which the company is commissioning playwrights nationwide to create a series of short plays that you — yes, you — can perform with your family and friends at own home. You can choose to do a staged reading in your kitchen or go big and record your performance, perchance to show it on that mighty celestial stage known as YouTube (or in Shakespeare’s day, as it was called, “ThouTube”). A suggested donation of $5 to $10 per play is requested, but come on! Where else can you put on your own little “Hamilton” for just a Hamilton?


Close to my heart (as I’ve spent more than 20 years doing audio theater) is Cardinal’s Walkabout Radio Plays. Original radio plays will be made available for download, along with maps, so you can put on the earbuds and take a magical journey. Listen to a new scene at each stop along the way. Suggested donation is $10 to $15 per play.


Cardinal is also commissioning a new play from a rising star playwright as part of their Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. This play will be created and developed at Cardinal, with the goal of a world premiere in their 2022-23 season. Cardinal members will be privileged to experience behind-the-scenes access.


Once it is safe for indoor gatherings, Cardinal will host local singers and actors for a series of cabarets and dramatic readings. Events will be ticketed and each will be performed for one night only.


The Cardinal creative team shared, “Although the pandemic has significantly impacted the theater industry, Cardinal is excited for the opportunity to get creative and involve the entire community in creating art. Cardinal Stage’s goal is to get back to producing the kind of theater you know and love in the coming spring but is hopeful that these new programs can continue, becoming a part of its programming in future seasons.”