Theater group finds way to perform despite pandemic

Virtual theater in Ogdensburg

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Lights. Camera. Action.

The pandemic has forced many kids to give up what they love, but one north country children’s theater is up and running.

Members of ACT Children’s Theater in Ogdensburg have their scripts and pencils in hand.

They’re rehearsing for the debut of the play “Arthur Redux.”

“It’s a lot of fun, there’s a lot of comedy, and the kids are really enjoying it so far,” production coordinator Christopher Dwyer said.

But they won’t be performing in front of a live audience. Instead, they’ll be performing on YouTube.

“We decided, let’s try a play,” Dwyer said. “We’ve only done musicals. Let’s try our hand at a play. I said, that’s really easy to do virtually. We can just get it all set, plunk a camera down, record it, and get it out there for everyone to see.”

But for these kids, it doesn’t matter. They’re just excited to be doing what they love with who they love.

For Cole Siebels, it means putting smiles on other peoples’ faces.

“I really like that experience of putting something together that other people can watch and get involved with,” he said. “It’s always been a lot of fun.”

And for Jillian LeBel, it’s her future.

“It’s a really great way of expression,” she said. “I got into it in 6th grade through this theater, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Now I’m going to college for music.”

While there’s nothing like performing in front of a live audience, these kids and their director are just excited to be back home.

“There was a giant circle of chairs, reading through the script, everyone was having a good laugh,” Dwyer said. “It really felt like coming home again.”

You can watch the play’s debut on YouTube on April 30.

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