Arts

Alliance Theatre’s ‘Under The Tent’ Series Provides Outdoor, Socially Distanced Performances

"Under the Tent" series begins April 22.
"Under the Tent" series begins April 22.
Credit Alliance Theatre

The Alliance Theatre’s new spring “Under the Tent” series invites visitors to enjoy live performances at Callaway Plaza, adjacent to Alliance’s Woodruff Arts Center.

The tent will include open-air, socially distanced seating in small pods, with contactless entry requiring facemasks.

This season’s featured production is “Working,” a 1978 musical based on the Studs Terkel book. The series will also bring in newly scheduled guest productions from Tyrone Jackson and Sister Omelika, as well as a new adaptation of “Hamlet” by Tiny Theater Company.

“City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with Tinashe Kajese-Bolden, actor, director and BOLD Women’s Leadership Circle artistic director fellow for the Alliance Theatre, via Zoom about their new productions and how they’re addressing diversity and inclusivity.

Interview highlights

On the movement for inclusivity and representation in theater:

“There’s always work to do,” said Kajese-Bolden. “When we talk about inclusion, it’s about how we make people feel. So it is not just how you feel when you see the work on our stage, but how do you feel when you come into our space? Do you feel welcomed? … We need to interrogate what are the obstacles that we have, intentionally or unintentionally, set up that have made our community feel that this is not their stage, that this is not their town hall.”

On the main presentation, “Working: The Musical”:

“This particular musical, ‘Working,’ really speaks to this shifting world that we are in. It was really important that we do a show that doesn’t take advantage of the moment that we have all been trudging through, but is responsive to it. [Director Tamela Woodard and writer/composer Steven Schwartz] have crafted an experience in this musical that is uniquely and profoundly Atlanta.”

On the experience of producing a year’s worth of shows for livestream only:

“You know there’s no tricks, right? It’s almost like, how do we see this art without the tricks?” said Kajese-Bolden. “And with film, you know that tricks can be made, can happen to make magic. And you love that … But we wanted to preserve the handmade-ness element of theater … What we kept reminding ourselves was, story, story, story.”

The first production in the series begins with “Working: A Musical” on April 22.

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