Diversionary Theatre Moves Its Fundraising Gala Online
And offers virtual tickets to 'Plot Points In Our Sexual Development' through April 30
Diversionary Theatre is the third oldest LGBTQ theatre in the U.S. But, as with other live theaters, it had to close its doors because of the coronavirus pandemic and will be offering two events online.
It's difficult to be a live theater and be forced to close your doors because of a pandemic.
"The transition, I think for every theater has been slightly horrific and terrifying," admitted Matt Morrow artistic director of Diversionary Theatre. "We're in the business of bringing people together and when you can't do the thing, which you are literally built to do, it really puts a cramp in your style."
But as with so many theatre companies, Diversionary has had to pivot to remain viable in the community.
"We are committed to keeping our staff on and we're all working remotely and we're all working our hearts out remotely," Morrow added. "You would think that this would be a slower time for us, but it has proven to be the other way around. The work that has gone into pivoting all of our programming online has been immense and ongoing, and we've had great success with it as well.
"The silver lining of this is that I think as a theater community, we have grown a lot more technologically savvy and we've found new outlets to reach our community online and that's really exciting for the future. But no doubt it has been scary."
One of the scariest things for a small company that operates on narrow margins is how to stay afloat financially when your main source of income has been eliminated. So Diversionary has had to move its biggest annual fundraising gala online.
"We were making it available to everyone online and it's absolutely free to join in," Morrow explained. "We are going to be live streaming the evening of Saturday, April 25, between 6:45 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. The program that we have lined up is really delightful. Jay Wilson, who was our Hedwig is going to be hosting and performing.
"We're going to have some surprise special guests over the course of the evening, and there's also going to be an interactive element if you tune in to YouTube, where you can actually speak in real time with Jay and we have a little game that we're going to play with community that we think is going to be a lot of fun. And we really wanted to feel like a high energy event where people get up on their feet in their homes and just celebrate the third oldest LGBT theater in the country."
There will be a fundraising component to the event as well with a silent auction and raffle that people can partake in online. People can also just donate on the web page while streaming content on YouTube or Facebook.
The gala has been dubbed The Royal Uprising Ball because "the theme is royalty, and uprising, and the LGBT community claiming its place among the royal folks of the arts and culture community," Morrow said.
Diversionary was also lucky enough to have recorded a run-through of what was to be its current stage production of Miranda Rose Hall's "Plot Points in Our Sexual Development" before the theater was forced to shut down. It is not a full dress rehearsal but it is the complete play.
"It's part of what we call the Gender Series, which we are producing this spring and it's a lineup of three shows. The first was the world's premiere of 'A Kind of Weather' by Sylvain Oswald, which focuses on a trans son and his relationship with his father. And then this one, 'Plot Points in Our Sexual Development' focuses on a relationship between cis woman and her trans-masculine-gender-queer partner. And then the third show, which is delayed right now, 'Head Over Heels,' is a Broadway musical that focuses on redefining gender roles."
Since "Plot Points" is an intimate, two-person play that people can purchase a virtual ticket to online.
"So it works in this really minimal way exceptionally well [and] boy, does it hold up. It is such a compelling story and the beautiful thing about this show is that it's really two people onstage telling their very compelling, very interesting and moving stories directly to the audience and directly to each other," Morrow said.
"Miranda Rose Hall as a playwright has never held back from being absolutely honest in her writing, and the rawness and honesty with which she approaches this subject, I really admire. And I think that our community can have an opportunity to not only learn from this couple's relationship, but also to experience a different point of view that they might not have had before and understand our gender nonconforming and trans community in a new and exciting way, that allows our community to grow and expand our capacity for love and compassion and understanding."
Diversionary also offers Team Updates from the staff as well as classes online.