Northeast Pennsylvania’s arts scene never stops — not even during a pandemic.
On Monday, Scranton Fringe Festival launched a digital festival series, “Social Distant-Scene Theatre” which will feature high quality recordings from past Scranton productions, as well as works from across the country, said Scranton Fringe co-founder Conor Kelly O’Brien.
All videos can be viewed through Scranton Fringe Festival’s Eventbrite page through Monday, April 20.
While the Scranton Fringe Festival is still set to take place this fall from Thursday, Sept. 24, through Sunday, Oct. 4, the digital festival will serve as a way to ensure the culture and community of creative artists can still thrive amid fears of the coronavirus.
When artists across the country began providing digital entertainment for those practicing social distancing or in quarantine, organizers including O’Brien and Fringe co-founder Elizabeth Bohan, felt inspired to offer their own version using past performances.
“We have a collection of these high-quality performances and we wanted to utilize them,” O’Brien said. “It fits with the Fringe Festival’s mission to provide arts, culture and enrichment to the region throughout the year.”
Also, as large gatherings are postponed and many live theater events cancelled, including all of Broadway closing its theaters, those with jobs in the performing arts will be of those hit hardest during the pandemic, O’Brien said.
“Actors, musicians, lighting directors, stage designers, costumers, there are numerous positions in the creative arts and those individuals will be out of work for the foreseeable future,” O’Brien said.
Performances include musicals, comedies, storyteller shows and more including “Just A Penny,” “Static,” and “Good Grief: A Comedy About Loss and Being Bad At It.” Also, the festival’s “2019 Big Gay StorySlam” starring Pissi Myles, a drag comedian, singer and hostess who most recently made headlines for her coverage of the Donald Trump impeachment hearings, will be streaming. Some performances will be ticketed with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Scranton Fringe as well as the creators. Other performances are free and donations will be accepted. More performances are expected to be added to the queue, O’Brien said.
“We hope this initiative not only brings revenue to our organization and artists both locally and around the world, but we’re hoping this is something to take people’s minds off of what’s happening right now, at least for a little while,” he added. “We’re all trying to navigate our way through this and we hope by providing a space for artists and audiences to come together, we’re doing our part.”
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT