Theatre and Opera

Photo: Janet Moore

For decades now, opera houses have tried to attract new fans to an art form that’s historically drawn a wealthy older crowd.  

 The English National Opera sends whole orchestras into schools – hoping to wow kids.  In Knoxville, the opera hosts cocktail parties where performers mingle with guests and break into song.    The Ash Lawn Opera in Charlottesville has tried several tactics to win the hearts and minds of people under 60.       

The Tweet Seats

Jun 24, 2015
Virginia Tech

Pull out your phone in a live theatrical performance, and you might get the stink eye, or even a request to leave. But given the unavoidable technological climate, some theatres, including the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, are beginning to experiment with Tweet Seats, where patrons can safely share their ideas and thoughts about the performances, free from any menacing glares.  

Lindsey Walters

The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton is known for being traditional, but you might be surprised by what constitutes tradition when it comes to the bard.

In Shakespeare’s time, the lights did not go down as the curtain came up.  That’s why the Blackfriar Theater’s racy motto is, “We Do It with the Lights On.”  And during the current five-show series, performers are taking just 48-hours to find costumes and rehearse.  Theater spokeswoman, Cathy Bagwell Marsh, says for the Bard, it was all about business.

“Because the more you did, the more money you made.”

Fool for Love

Feb 19, 2015

The power of love, and its not so distant relative, hate, are explored in one of Sam Shepard’s most enduring plays.  “Fool for Love” opens next week on the main stage at Virginia Tech’s School of Performing Arts.  

Sam Shepard's plays tend to roam the vast spaces of the wild west and the small spaces of the human psyche; His characters, larger than life, his themes reminiscent of Greek theater, though set in the present day.

Theater-goers in Richmond will witness an unusual theater production tonight. Actors will stage a show not seen since 1811 – a performance that ended with a deadly fire.

It was the day after Christmas, 1811, and patrons of the Richmond Theater were treated to a comedy – Father of the Family.

Then came a drama called Raymond and Agnes or the Bleeding Nun.

“The chandelier was lowered for the end of act one.”

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