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Lights, Webcam, Action! Women’s Theatre Festival Innovates New Forms Of Online Performance

Theater is constantly moving between mediums. From radio plays to vaudeville’s transformation into televised variety shows, actors and technicians now find their stage to be TikTok and Twitch. 

Host Anita Rao is previews the ongoing Women's Theatre Festival lineup with participating actors and talks with the festival's executive director about taking theater online.

Profits and mass exposure drove much of the migration toward on-screen performance — but today, with venues closed, it is survival that is driving theater companies to adapt plays for live broadcast. But the Women’s Theatre Festival is not allowing necessity to stand in the way of innovation.

WTF Executive Artistic Director Johannah Maynard Edwards explains to host Anita Rao the ways live-streaming offers opportunities for audience accessibility and national networking for the Raleigh-based festival. Rao previews three of the shows featured in this year’s festival, including a conversation with Kameron Southerland and Shea Stanley about their hilarious interpretation of a middle school talent show forced onto Zoom that WTF hosts onJuly 11 at 1:30 p.m. Southerland and Stanley write and perform as the comedic duo Taking This Seriously. The 2020 Women’s Theatre Festival includes online workshops, performances and seminars from July 1 to August 1.  

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Grant Holub-Moorman is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina.