Sharing thoughts about the 2020-21 Season

July 1, 2020

Design by Sara Brown, Misha Kachman, Matt Saunders

READ ABOUT THE WILMA GLOBE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

UPDATE: MORE ABOUT THE GLOBE FROM THE WILMA LEADERSHIP

Dear Friend of the Wilma,

Like all theaters around the country and across the world, we are spending most of our time trying to understand how we can bring our next season (beginning in late 2020 or early 2021) to you.­­

I must admit – we are luckier than most. Thanks to your support, we have been able to avoid closure and digitally present new and old productions. Over these last few months, our team has been working harder than usual, tirelessly planning and problem-solving to keep the Wilma moving forward.

From the very first day of this pandemic, we all agreed to take this crisis as a challenge, an opportunity to rethink and to reinvent. Flexibility and Innovation are the two central principles guiding us. These principles have led us to a plan for next season, of which we are very proud. For about three months, we’ve engaged dozens of designers, directors, and administrators; we’ve been led by Set Designers Misha Kachman from DC, Sara Brown from Cambridge, and Matt Saunders from Philadelphia, with important input from Video Designer Jorge Cousineau.

We began by asking ourselves a question: how can we stay close, yet apart? In response to this challenge, we came up with the Wilma Globe, basing our thinking on a number of historical models, including Shakespeare’s Globe.

As you can see in the pictures and videos, the Wilma Globe is an arena, surrounded by two levels of audiences-boxes, each separated from one another by wooden dividers, but open to the stage. Depending on the specific needs of the show, it can be reconfigured into a semi-circle, horseshoe, and more. This Globe can fit as little as 30 and up to 100 people, and will provide a higher level of safety and comfort to our audiences.

But our full capacity used to be more than 300. How can we reach the same number of people? Our answer: Video-Streaming. Our plan, pending approval from our unions, is to approach streaming not merely as a technical solution but as an opportunity for artistic invention.

We hope to discreetly install about a dozen cameras inside the Wilma Globe, uniquely placed for each production. Some of these would take care of the big picture, while others could be as small and specific as a camera hidden on an actor’s costume. As the director is rehearsing the show, a video designer would create a “video-script” of the production, allowing us to stream a high quality, artistically planned version of the play. This way we can open our productions to a much broader circle of potential audiences.

There are hundreds of important details that we are still working on, which will help ensure audience and artists’ comfort and safety, from mask protocols to bathrooms to concessions to entering and leaving the space. Of course, we will abide by all relevant government regulations. We will find thoughtful and innovative solutions to match our current planning. But we believe this “hybrid” version – a mix of in-person and streaming  will provide us with a much higher level of flexibility and preparedness for next season.

To realize this ambitious plan, we need your support. If this idea attracts you and you are able to chip in, please HELP US BUILD IT: Commit to the season with WilmaPass, which will grant you access to our productions either in person or virtually, or make a tax-deductible contribution. Together we’ll find a way of making our next season accessible to Wilma’s audiences, both returning and new.

Yury Urnov
Lead Artistic Director, 2020-21 Season

Design by Sara Brown, Misha Kachman, Matt Saunders

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