Advice for theatre companies worried about bringing audiences back into their physical spaces has been ‘Go Bold.’ The opera-theatre company, IN Series, which usually performs at Source in DC, has embraced that programming advice in ways advisors had probably not imagined.
In a video released yesterday, IN Series’ Artistic Director Timothy Nelson made the remarkable announcement that the company’s entire new season will be virtual. “… to our knowledge, [we are] the first company in the world, opera, theater, or otherwise, to announce a COMPLETELY DIGITAL 2020-2021 SEASON, one which allows us to unflinchingly persist in our mission and vision in ways which were unimaginable even a few weeks ago,” he said.
No titles were announced. Rather, IN Series, Nelson reported, would make choices reflective of what the future brings. “Instead of announcing a season of titles, we will announce a promise of content, to be constantly in creation and released several times each month. This radical new approach to what a season means allows us to adapt continually during these months of uncertainly. It provides us with the flexibility to react with creativity and compassion to each wave of news or virus or treatment as it happens.”
In Nelson’s bold new vision, the financial planning is even bolder: all content will be offered free to its global audience.
“This will not be opera as usual, shrunk down to the small screen. This will be music-theater designed to be consumed at home to appeal to the broadest audience possible; all ages, all languages, totally global. This new iteration of opera will speak to those who already love live opera, those who have never seen live opera but will be persuaded by this to pursue it when that is again possible, and even for those who will only love it digitally.”
A new website, which Nelson imagines as a virtual opera-theater space, will be unveiled in July with In Series’ first content appearing in September, 2020.