October is Arts and Humanities Month, something so vital in these times. In support of the month Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is asking that we help celebrate and honor the arts and artists in our communities.
For this newsletter, we are shining a light on our performance stages from live theater to music venues, the Blackstone Valley is home to several performance venues. Many of these venues were the first to close and some of which are still closed due to the pandemic.
Sadly, in addition to the pandemic, some of our local theaters have had deal with personal loss with three actors/directors passing away this year, and we would like to take a moment to recognize them and share our condolences with the RI theater community at large. They are:
· Brian Mulvey, Past-President, actor, director with Pawtucket's Community Players in Pawtucket. He was also a teacher/librarian in the Pawtucket schools Read more.
· Tom Epstein, Mostly remembered for his role as King of King Richard's Faire, but was also a long-time member of the former Cumberland Company and also performed with Attleboro Community Theatre and Community Players. Read more.
· Wendy Overly - Most recently we lost actor/director Wendy Overly who worked with the Gamm Theatre for many years and Burbage Theatre. Read more.
However, our theater/performance venues are resilient. They provide entertainment and are a cultural resource for our communities and deserve our support in these trying times. Here are just a few.
Community Players of Pawtucket, Rhode Island's longest running community theatre, is celebrating 100 years. Normally, they would be kicking off their 100th season. However, instead they are using social media to highlight their 100th anniversary with memories, stories and photos. As they state on their website, "Good times and bum times, we've seen them all, and my dear, we are still here. "More Info
Some spaces have been creative with online performances such as the upcoming production from Burbage Theatre,Pawtucket, "In the Next Zoom" tonight at 7:30 pm. Over the last few months they have held virtual events on Facebook Live to keep their theater going.
Mixed Magic Theatre, Pawtucket has also held virtual events and live-streaming through social media and on their website. During the summer they were able to take advantage of their outdoor space with live performances. They return to virtual performances starting next weekend with a two-part production of, "We, They and The People."
Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket has managed to hold on to smaller live performances in the Grand Hall with live shows running through the end of the year. More Info.
Several other music venues such as Blackstone River Theatre, Cumberland; The Met, Pawtucket and Twin River Event Center as well as smaller theaters like Assembly Theatre, Burrillville and Rhode Island Stage Ensemble in Woonsocket have remained closed and hope to get back on board with live performances in 2021.
We also need to give a shout out to Pawtuckets Poetry and our local libraries for striving to keep literary arts alive.
So as Arts & Humanities month comes to a close I leave you with this one thought: How do we survive without the Arts, Theatre, Dance, Music, Poetry, as well as Museums? They all serve to make us better human beings by reflecting life back at us. If you can help out visit their websites and make a donation. You can find links on our website below.