The Whidbey Children’s Theatre was just one week and five rehearsals away from the opening night of its production of “Les Miserables” when the decision was made to cancel the show as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The curtain has not fallen completely on the Langley theater, though, as its staff has come up with an offering of classes for the fall, and possibly the winter.
“It’s been a quiet summer, but with a lot of creativity and talking behind the scenes,” said Lindsey Hensrude, the theater’s marketing coordinator.
“WCT Academy” is the theater’s virtual plan for the fall, and will involve weekly classes where kids in grades five through 12 will have a chance to hone their performing and writing skills.
To avoid “Zoom burnout,” classes will be kept short, around 45 minutes each, and will work around the school schedules of the South Whidbey School District, Hensrude explained, although kids attending other schools are also welcome to join in on the fun.
Two of the classes, which focus on script writing and performing, are currently full, but the third class, “Scenes from a Quarantine,” still has spots available. The class will run Oct. 26 through Dec. 18 and will include a recorded vignette play.
The play will mimic a normal production with the Whidbey Children’s Theatre. Actors will participate as usual for the first block of rehearsal and then work in small groups with the director on their pieces. There will even be a “tech week” and, of course, a performance week.
The final performance will not be live-streamed or shared with a general audience, Artistic Director and Production Manager Cait Cassee said.
Cassee will be teaching all of the classes.
A wait list is available for the other two classes that are currently full. Hensrude said the theater may have more classes available in the winter, depending on what kind of learning model the school district has planned.
If possible to open the theater safely to the public again, a 2021 season opener show, which has been discussed, may be in the works.
“We are not short on plans and visions and dreams,” Hensrude said.
The theater’s executive director, Ann M. Johnson, agreed.
“Our normal is gone,” Johnson said. “Everything we do now is an experiment. There’s so much freedom and creativity in that.”
• To sign up for a class, call 360-221-8707, visit the website wctmagic.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.