Letter from our Interim Director Kevin Murray
Well, quite a year so far! When I assumed the duties of Interim Director of the School of Theater in Summer of 2019, little did I know our University would be dealing with a health pandemic, a long-overdue social revolution working toward inclusion and responses to systemic racism, all while conducting a broad-reaching introspection of our student learning outcomes and assessments for an imminent review of Mason’s accreditation.
Although not without its challenges, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
First, I want to address our academic plans for the fall. Although at the time of writing this article, Mason plans a safe opening of the University this fall, using a mix of online, face-to-face, and hybrid instruction, the Theater faculty unanimously voted in June to move all fall theater courses online. The Center for the Arts also cancelled, postponed or moved online all fall programming in our venues. I strongly believe this is the wisest decision we could make, as the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty is paramount.
One of our ongoing tasks as a faculty has been season planning. Usually, this would have been decided by mid-Spring, and we would be distributing season brochures by now. Due to our own shutdown and transition to teleworking, combined with a nationwide slowdown of business as usual, many of our requests to secure the rights to plays were delayed
I am happy to announce, however, that we now have a 2020-2021 season to share with you, but it will look a little different this year. As always, a number of our shows will be student-directed. You will experience the work of playwrights who are not as well-recognized as they should be. You will see more detail below about the mission and spirit of Jubilee. We decided as early as August 2019 to celebrate this important arts initiative in the next season, and it has since become more important, and more urgent, than ever.
Our Fall events will all be offered online, and we are proud to have our work presented through CVPA’s Mason Arts at Home platform. Begun last March out of necessity, Mason Arts at Home has become a beacon of accessibility to the arts and an integral opportunity for us all to continue enjoying the work of artists we love. We and the CVPA staff have been upgrading, training and exploring our technical capabilities in order to present compelling theatrical works in the most dynamic ways possible.
We are planning for all our Spring 2021 events and classes to be back in our venues and in our classrooms, live and in-person, and we cannot wait to reconnect with everyone face to face.
- Kevin Murray, Interim Director