While Samford Theatre and the Samford Dance Company did not have any traditional shows or recitals last semester due to COVID-19 restrictions, they have been preparing for their mainstage shows and recitals this semester. Samford Theatre’s two mainstage shows this spring are “Tinkerbell” and “Little Women.”
Senior Theatre for Youth major Abby DeBusk is looking forward to her first mainstage performance at Samford. DeBusk said future shows remained in question late into last semester.
“We really weren’t sure if we were doing productions in the spring until around November,” DeBusk said.
Once they heard the news, they got to work right away with auditions and callbacks. Over JanTerm, students were asked to submit video auditions, and the weekend before students moved back to campus, the call back list was sent out. During the first week of classes, callbacks were done, with the cast of “Tinkerbell” doing them in ensemble groups, and the cast of “Little Women” doing individual callbacks.
DeBusk will be performing as the title character in the production “Tinkerbell,” which she is very excited about.
“Tinkerbell was my favorite character growing up, so this story has a very big part of my heart,” DeBusk said. “I loved the character, and to be able to tell the story of Peter Pan through Tinkerbell’s eyes is just an amazing experience, especially during this time.”
DeBusk went on to explain that the story of “Tinkerbell” is about friendship and how one friendship cannot diminish another, a message which she believes to be very important during the COVID-19 pandemic. The show tells the story of Tinkerbell after all the other fairies are gone, and she’s yet to find Peter Pan.
“It shows a different side of Tinkerbell,” DeBusk said.
Rehearsals have already begun for this production and many precautions are in place to keep the cast members safe and healthy. According to DeBusk, people move around every 15 minutes to avoid contact with someone for long periods of time, and hand sanitizer is available all over the place, including on the set, for the cast to use.
Unlike in semesters past, the cast was not given extra time to prepare for rehearsals before they returned to campus due to auditions happening later than usual.
“This entire process has definitely been different because TY shows, like I mentioned, are always off-book first thing and we are not off book yet because we didn’t find out who we were until the first week of school,” DeBusk said.
“TY ” shows are Theatre for Youth shows, which is a major that has been around for four to five years and focuses on shows for audience members between the ages of one and 26.
“It focuses on young audiences, who are still developing artistically and intelligently,” DeBusk said. “It’s more than just a family-type show.”
DeBusk said she enjoys TY shows.
“It’s all about ensemble, and there’s always a hopeful ending in TY shows,” DeBusk said.
When it comes to who will be able to see the shows, DeBusk said that the max capacity in Harrison Theatre is 40 people in the audience, and tickets will be available to buy at the Box Office, but will be a first come, first serve, since only a limited number of tickets can be sold per show. However, the show is also being filmed so they can be seen by elementary schools in the Birmingham area and possibly beyond.
“It’s definitely kinda strange, but it is such a wonderful opportunity because even though it’s very sad that children won’t be able to come in-person and interact with the show, it’s still wonderful because with the recordings we will be able to reach even more schools, and possibly schools outside of Alabama,” DeBusk said.
Samford Theatre’s production of “Tinkerbell” will be performed March 18-20.
The Samford Dance Company, plans to perform a story ballet based on the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
“The show is a mix of different styles, music, and dancers in order to create this really cool, really unique performance,” junior Anna Kate Medlin said.
Just like Samford Theatre, the Samford Dance Company has taken several precautions to make sure that they stay safe and healthy, and they plan to wear masks during their performance.
“We’ve worn masks since August like everyone else,” Medlin said. “We also are all definitely keeping our circles small because we can’t risk getting exposed now.”
Medlin, along with the rest of the company, is excited to be performing in the Samford Dance Company this spring semester.
“I was going to be really upset if we couldn’t because I love getting to perform with everyone and go through the rehearsal process,” Medlin said. “We found out in around mid-late September that we would be able to do it, and everyone was so excited.”
For more information about the upcoming shows, visit the Samford Theatre and Dance website.