August 20, 2020

Fall 2020 in the Theatre Department - a few words

  • Fir Acres Theatre


Hello and welcome to the Fall 2020 in the Theatre Department!


I’m Štěpán Šimek, the Chair of the Department. I imagine that given the weird situation we’re all finding ourselves in, you have many questions as to what exactly is going to happen in the Fall.

The College has released a detailed description of the Fall 2020 reopening plans on its website:

as well as the College’s safety protocols to which the Department will adhere:

The websites will give you a good overview of what to expect as you arrive on campus or log into your remote learning tools, and I urge you to read it carefully.

Nonetheless, the information on the College’s website addresses the plans for the College as such, and I imagine that you’d like to get some specific information about our plans in the Department.

So here it is:

  1. Curriculum Delivery
  • Most of our classes will happen in a “hybrid” form. That means that those classes will partially happen in person with the instructor and the students in the same room, socially distanced and masked and partially remotely via Zoom. In other words, they will have both in-person and remote components.
  • We have lowered the caps for our performance classes in order to create enough space for everyone to move and speak while maintaining social distance, and there will be a combination of meetings with all participants and working with smaller cohorts.
  • We have moved some large classes, such as the T-Lab into big auditoriums that allow for social distancing
  • We’re splitting our Theatre Theory class into two groups which will alternate between in-person and zoom meetings.
  • Our Fundamentals of Design class will be taught entirely on-line with an alternating schedule of larger meetings with all participants and smaller cohorts.
  • Our scene and costume shops will be staffed with a small cohort of work study students who will work in socially distanced and safe way.
  • Our Fall 2020 mainstage production of Cabaret will proceed as a combination of live performance for a very small in-person audience and live streaming for the community. The design and the shape of the production will adhere to the strict health standards and social distancing. It will be quite complex and audacious an undertaking, and if it works the way we imagine, it will enter into the history books as one of the most - if not the most - daring theatrical experiments of all times.
  • The auditions for the production will be a combination of submitting audition videos for singing and dancing and in-person auditions for acting. You can find more information about the auditions dates and how to submit an audition tape on our Departmental website.
  • If you are symptomatic in any way shape or form, please do NOT come to any classes, rehearsals or auditions, and contact the health center.
  1. Theatre Building
  • The Theatre building will be open and accessible to our students.
  • You’ll be required to adhere to strict social distancing behavior and to wearing a mask in the building. This applies to your independent rehearsals, project work, etc…
  • Unfortunately, the Green Room will not be operational and you won’t be able to “hang out” in there.
  • The Black Box Theatre will be available for student rehearsals, but strict masking and distancing roles will need to be adhered to.
  • All classrooms and work spaces will be regularly cleaned and disinfected by a dedicated cleaning crew.
  • The Scene and Costume Shops will be open, but access to those spaces will be limited to students working in the shops.
  • All costume fittings for our mainstage production will be conducted in a safely ventilated and partitioned space with a strict adherence to six-feet distance.
  • Please consult the above College’s website as to the health and safety protocols again
  1. Faculty and Staff
  • Some of the faculty and staff will be in the building and/or their offices. However, in order to minimalize contact, we will ask you to schedule individual meetings on Zoom whenever possible.
  • Lingafelter is on Sabbatical this semester, but she’ll be available to consult with her advisees.
  • We are welcoming Professor Jenna Tamimi. She is a Post-Graduate scholar in the Department and she’ll be teaching TH 340 – Theatre Theory in the Fall, teach TH 283 – American Theatre and direct a mainstage production in the Spring.
  • Olich will be working entirely from his home. In order to minimalize contact, most meetings with him will have to be arranged remotely, except some of the tasks related to his costume design for the Fall mainstage production, such as costume fittings, etc…
  • Our Departmental Administrator, Joyce Beeny will be working entirely from her home, and she’ll be available to answer any questions and issues remotely.
  1. Specific Information about Individual Classes
  • Before the start of the semester, each individual instructor will be in touch with you by email explaining the specific ways they will conduct their class.
  • If you registered for classes and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your instructor.


The Fall 2020 semester will be “different” to say the least, and we all should be honest about the challenges we’re facing. Some experiences will be fantastic and others may not live up to our expectations – such is the nature of the times we’re living through. Nonetheless, we would like to encourage you to attack the semester in the Theatre Department with the highest expectations of yourselves and of us. We’re ready to make as much lemonade as possible out of the lemons handed to us and while some trepidation about this whole experiment is inevitable, we’re looking forward to getting to work.