MSU Department of Theatre Students Get Creative During COVID-19

Just a little over month ago, Michigan State University made the decision to move all face-to-face classes to virtual instruction due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak. Since then, students and faculty of the Department of Theatre have fully embraced the challenges of this transition and have created an impressive amount of online content. Read on to learn more about these Theatre Spartans and for links to their outstanding online work.

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Stay-at-Home Artists YouTube Channel

Students enrolled in Sophomore Seminar (THR 292) had an assignment at the beginning of the semester to create a live performance event. In lieu of their change in venue, students elected to create a class YouTube channel instead. 

MSU Theatre youtube page
Videos Made by Students in THR 292 Sophomore Seminar

The channel, aptly named “Stay at Home Artists,” went live on Friday, April 17, and features videos created by each student enrolled in the course. The class also released an accompanying press release that states:  “…for us go getters, creators, and problem-solvers one of the hardest things to do is do nothing. The MSU theater class of 2022 have been using this time to learn new skills, practice new pieces, and make some content that just might make you laugh out loud.”

MSU Department of Theatre Class of 2022 Stay-at-Home Artists

The Rules of Improv

MSU Department of Theatre faculty members and Wharton Center Artist-in-Residence Sarah Hendrickson, along with several of her “wonderfully weird” theatre students, have recorded a series of lessons on the art of improvisational comedy, entitled “Improv at a Glance,” in response to the performing arts center’s call for virtual content. 

The First Rule of Improv

The Second Rule of Improv

The Third Rule of Improv

The Fourth Rule of Improv

group of students and teachers on a video call
Sarah Hendrickson leads MSU Theatre Students in a virtual class about improvisation

Virtual Theatre Workshops for Children

Theatre seniors Taylor McPhail and Isabella Stenz have partnered with Department of Theatre alumna Emily Clark to create OnLive Theatre. The trio, self-described as “Three friends who refuse to let growing up stop them from doing children’s theatre,” have been offering online workshops for children ages 8 and older. 

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MSU Theatre Seniors Isabella Stenz and Taylor McPhail join alumna Emily Clark in leading online theatre workshops for children.

The group just completed a two-week workshop with 14 children to create and perform an original piece of digital theatre, which can be viewed for free on YouTube.

The experience received positive reviews from the parents and children involved, with many participants excitedly returning for their next project, “An Afternoon of One Acts Workshop.”

OnLive Theatre is hoping to “get more kids involved in performing and theatre…during times where our circumstances make it harder than ever to rehearse and perform,” Clark said.

Learn more about OnLive’s work and upcoming workshops on the OnLive Theatre website.