If you haven’t been here since the world turned upside-down in March, we have a lot to catch you up on! Since reopening Upstart Crow for summer in June, we have:
Offered 13 weeks of safe, socially-distanced, on-site summer camps
Hosted 7 free online theatre workshops
Produced 5 online theatre productions
Taught 3 one-month online classes
Held 2 one-week online theatre camps
DIVING IN THE DEEP END
Our staff, teachers, and camp counselors dove head-first into unknown territory this summer! We became experts on the Oregon Health Authority’s Statewide Reopening Guidance – School Aged Summertime Day Camps. We learned new skills for directing online Zoomsicals, editing video for recorded performances, teaching online private vocal lessons, facilitating Zoom theatre workshops for beginners, and hosting theatre performance webinars for audiences that spanned the country.
It’s been a time of incredible growth and change for Upstart Crow. We’re no longer newbies in small, safe, socially-distanced, in-person events on site. We’ve filled our theatre toolbox with several new tools for online instruction. And we’ve learned how to pivot quickly to meet the demands of students and families with very different needs and circumstances.
We want to take a moment to speak to you frankly about the 2020-21 season. We know students want nothing more than to return to the building and make theatre together in-person in the Crow’s Nest. We fully appreciate that Zoom Theatre is VERY different from performing in person with a live audience.
Bringing a full complement of hourly classes and rehearsals on-site, as we’ve learned from schools, is complicated, costly, and at this point, still risky. To bring multiple groups on-site daily (as with hourly class and rehearsals) we would need to clean and sanitize between each group, provide health screenings, restrict traffic flow for each group entering and exiting the building, all while maintaining social-distance for students, staff, and families.
Our decision for the 2020-21 season, based on this new reality, is to offer limited on-site programming and special events, while the majority of our program moves to an online format.
Upstart Crow Studios (on site) 2020-21
Matinee is our new on-site, educational support program for students in grades 3-8. Matinee offers a small, stable group of on-site educational support for their online school coursework in the morning and a variety of theatre activities in the afternoon. Each session of Matinee has a very limited, stable, weekly cohort that attends, limiting the number of new people in the building.
Performance Troupes Special Events for Stage Door, Overture, and our new performance troupe, Prelude, will host monthly on-site special events. Many of these activities will take place outside in the parking lot. When the weather is no longer hospitable, we can either move indoors and spread out over our 4,000 square foot building or host the activity online.
Crows Online 2020-21
We are taking a conservative approach to our 2020-21 season by moving our entire theatre program online. Our full complement of theatre classes, performance troupes, and theatre productions for students ages 2-18!
NORMAL IS STILL A WAYS OFF
Throughout the season we will reassess our ability to bring limited classes back on site based on Oregon Health Authority guidance and influenced by local school district decisions. To be clear, we do NOT anticipate bringing a full schedule of classes and rehearsals or live audiences back on site during 2020-21.
RECOMMITTING TO EACH OTHER
Now, more than ever, we need the support of our core Crow families. Our staff is committed to continuing to provide your students a high-quality, accessible, theatre education. We’ll continue to build their theatre skills, provide mentoring, and facilitate their personal development.
We’re asking Crow families to throw their wholehearted support behind our 2020-21 Covid strategy. It’s imperative to our success that our core families not only accept but embrace our programming decisions. With your support, Upstart Crow will not only survive these unprecedented times but actually thrive during a global health pandemic.
BRINGING BACK JOY
More than anything this season, whether in small, personal moments or in anxiously anticipated special events, we want to create joy. Never have we felt more compelled to find ways to “sit together” and hold space for our students. We’re here for theatre All. Day. Long. We’re also here to give students the time and support they need to re-awaken their creative minds - many of which went into survival-mode when quarantined for months this spring.
Students experience joy when they gather online and connect with their peers, when they feel safe in rehearsals and take healthy risks, getting outside their comfort zones. And we’ll share this joy with others when we perform safely for our community.
If your family decides to take this ride with us and join us for and online acting class, musical theatre production, or online performance this season, we ask you to commit enthusiastically.
Youth in our community are hearing all the negative conversations around their educational options this school year. When it comes to making theatre at Upstart Crow, make it a habit to focus on how fortunate we are in continuing to pursue our passion in very difficult times. The staff and students who jumped into online programming this summer made many discoveries, found new opportunities, and encountered numerous silver linings together. We invite you to join us!
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to this program! WE WOULD NOT BE HERE WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF OUR CROW FAMILIES.
Heidi Knight Meigs