Plans for the Performing Arts 

Kaleia Lawrence, Opinion Editor

Shifting Performing Arts at Madison College to the online world wasn’t easy. However, it was the students and the faculty that made the experience something special.  

“At first, it was daunting and scary. And really depressing. You know, at first, look around and see the world shutting down and everybody hunkering into their own homes and being very safe, but also challenged by health risks. We really thought, well, it would have been easy to say let’s shut our doors…let’s just cut our losses and move on.  But the students didn’t want to do that…They wanted to keep going,” said Miranda Hawk, Communication & Performing Arts instructor 

Last summer, they put together their first virtual monologue festival. Playwrights from all over the world submitted pieces, even as far as New Zealand.  

That was pretty amazing that a college in Madison, WI… all of a sudden with a click of an email had access to playwrights from around the world, so that was pretty exciting. That was unexpected,” said Hawk. 

There’s something very different planned for this semester.   

On November 15th, a production of Shake Up Shakespeare will be made available virtually. It will be recorded live. Each student performer will be in their own homes while interacting through the video conference. The performance will be about forty minutes long. There’s no cost to watch it, and anyone can watch it on the Performing Arts webpage. 

There is so much to learn about performing, especially now with the change in the medium. One training that was already hosted was about the technical aspect of performing in the online world. 

 For example, since performers can no longer wait in the wings of the physical theater, they do so by turning off their camera and making sure that they don’t have a profile picture to create an all-black screen.  

Jennifer Uphoff Gray from Forward Theater did a workshop on what directors are looking for in actors and how to best prepare for the performing industry.  

Karen Olivo will do a workshop about what she’s learned in her journey so far. She was the lead in In the Heights, Lin Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway hit, and Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway tour that was in Chicago. This workshop will be open to all who want to attend. 

In the spring, Austin Dean Ashford will be virtually visiting Madison College. 

Last year he was the guest artist, and so I knew seeing him on stage, and the Mitby Theater was filled with college students from around the Midwest, and we had 1400 people in the theater, and they were all standing up and cheering,” said Hawke.   

There will be another virtual performance in the spring, although it hasn’t been decided yet what it will be. To get the most up to date information, visit the Performing Arts page on Madison College’s website,