Hello, and Welcome to the Performance.
This is the first time I’ve written a message to you knowing that you’ll be attending the dance performance or theatrical production virtually. You might be in your living room. You might not be in Mississippi. I will miss seeing you in a live audience, so I remind myself that this is all temporary. So until we return to live performances, let us take advantage of this moment. You will see new approaches to presenting live theatre tonight. You will see new venues for dance performances. You will see students who took risks, trusted their training, and recalibrated their artistic compasses.
I heard recently that while it’s easy to approach this moment in the performing arts as a low and insurmountable one, that is not the whole story. We are living a historical moment in the performing arts. We are making theatre and dance in a profound context. We have been asked to reinvent what we do, to connect to what we love in new ways, and dare I say, to take stock of who we are as individual artists. This is our moment. I cannot say this moment has seemed like a gift every step of the way. In fact, it’s often felt like an impossible problem that faculty, staffs and students were required to solve—and to do it with the deadline of an opening night. And this brings us to tonight.
I hope you enjoy the performance. It is nothing short of extraordinary. I’ve learned so much about my colleagues since last spring. I’ve learned the unfathomable degree to which they will reinvent their processes in new mediums and through new methods. I learned the astronomical amount of work they were willing to put in over the summer to be ready for students. I learned more than I ever thought I would know about new technology. And all of it was done for one reason: for our students. And our students do all of this for you: our audiences.
I imagine the excitement of a premiere transcends a virtual platform. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing what has happened not in our studios and rehearsal hall, but in apartments and outdoors. I am thrilled to know I will see dancers dancing and actors acting. And when we get to the other side of this, I will be curious to see what remains—what becomes permanent—even though all of this is temporary.
Stacy Reischman Fletcher
Director, School of Performing and Visual Arts