Just as theatres in North Carolina began to announce their 2020-2021 seasons, their current seasons were forced to close. By early March, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against gatherings of 50 people or more. Almost in an instant, playwrights saw their productions, many of them world premieres, vanish.
Needless to say, many dramatists have been hit hard by the closures. While we still don’t know when we’ll be able to gather again safely, theatre leaders have been working to figure out next steps. From monologues to writing workshops to full readings, many dramatists have been taking part in creating online programming for their communities. Throughout all of this, I was happy that the Dramatists Guild had activities for their members in the works.
Update from Erica McGee, NC Ambassador:
We had a great “End of Play” online event that began with a panel discussion on process and ended with a presentation of plays that were finished during the event. We had eight plays presented and each writer had actors read five-minute excerpts from their works. It was a unique experience and not completely ideal, BUT in this current situation, we all found it to offer us a sense of satisfaction of completion, community and inclusion. North Carolina’s own PETER TURNER had his play, The Under, selected for the Zoom reading by the 24 Hour Plays as part of their partnership with the Dramatists Guild’s End of Play event!
Update from Triza Cox, SC Ambassador:
Within the backdrop of the beautiful landscape and wonderful people of South Carolina, a plethora of artists have been able to start, grow, and sustain their respective careers; however, for the state’s playwrights there is much room for development. South Carolina Dramatists Guild membership is approximately 23 strong and represents a swath of the various geographic regions in the state. Before the outbreak of the pandemic plans were on the way for an End of Play reading in Columbia and a DG Footlights multi-day event in Charleston. Unfortunately, these plans were thwarted after the rise of COVID-19 necessitated shelter in place. Despite the pandemic’s knocking the wind out of our sails for South Carolina playwrights’ development and Dramatists Guild membership strengthening, members across the state are still moving onward through connecting with technology with these given circumstances and planning for future events when gatherings will no longer be prohibited.
As the states across the country start to reopen, we are planning an online Footlights event in collaboration with Triad Stage. As our group has expanded to include South Carolina in its events (we’re so close, it just makes sense!), we are even more excited to see what wonderful offerings we have to produce from not one, but two states! As the South Carolina chapter grows, we know that this group will overflow with strong storytelling and important voices. After all, the Carolinas are a powerful voice when combined!