COVID-19 social distancing restrictions have made anything but the smallest gatherings impossible for the foreseeable future. As an organization used to presenting cabaret style performances in small venues, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret (“Beards”) quickly shifted from delivering programming inside to taking it outside. Joining forces with other organizations throughout the region, they are developing a mobile arts venue that will bring diverse, small-scale experiences to open spaces in neighborhoods. The truck will open out into a stage complete with speakers and other technical equipment, transforming into an alternative performance space for the Beards and their partners. At a time when social justice is at the forefront of conversation, people are looking to engage with each other in new ways. The arts can help to accomplish this. This mobile venue will serve as a forum for connecting with people in their own neighborhoods, providing an opportunity for broader engagement and access.
This grant was made as part of Barra’s Reimagining Theater for Changing Times initiative for projects that reinvent how performing arts organizations can present work at a time when social distancing has caused many to cancel their 2020 seasons. These companies are considering how to not only safely present to audiences but are also being thoughtful about incorporating social justice issues into their programming and engaging diverse audiences. Selected projects stood out for their willingness to be daring, think creatively, work collaboratively and share their learning broadly about new models that can be used throughout the pandemic and beyond.