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The future of live theater: local theaters work to keep shows going in-person and online

The Scoundrel and Scamp Theater
Posted at 7:34 AM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 09:34:01-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Many local businesses in our town were hit hard by the pandemic, including our local live theaters. Tucson favorites like The Scoundrel and Scamp and Unscrewed Theater had to pivot their shows to online or other mediums in order to continue performing.

Unscrewed Theater closed their doors but moved their improv comedy troupes to perform on Zoom webinars. The Scoundrel and Scamp did the same but are bringing back their shows with COVID-19 precautions in place.

Bryan Falcon, the artistic director at The Scoundrel and Scamp, says it was a difficult time during their hibernation period when they had to shut down.

"This last year has been very challenging for the performing arts when the first hit, we realized how intrinsically local theater is and how it’s about people coming together and not only sharing a story but breathing in a space together which goes against what the pandemic allows us to do," he said.

Falcon said the stories that unfold live on a stage create a different world compared to watching a story unfold on a screen.

"A lot of the attraction in theater is about helping people create worlds in their minds eye," Falcon said. "So we had to ask ourselves how are we going to tell our stories."

So they took matters into their own hands and created The Scamp Radio 1/2 Hour, a radio show where the team performed their plays.

"There is a delightful little production that we did called The Scamp Radio 1/2 Hour that was our take on classic radio," he said. "It's the imagination, the sound effects and it's just delightful and that's one of the benefits of being out of the theater is that now we have all this online content up on our website."

He said that the rescue grant from the government was extremely helpful in staying open. Barbra Coffee, the City of Tucson's Economic Initiatives Director, said the local theaters are valiantly pulling through the obstacles from the pandemic, but the American Rescue Plan grant helped give them a boost.

"In the ways of non-profits being able to apply for funding," she said. "It’s putting the ARPA dollars to work so that our non-profit venues in the arts and culture relm can apply for those funds and bring back some of their activities."

The Scoundrel and Scamp Theatre is back in person with their 2021-2022 season. On February 17th, their latest production called Ada and the Engine will open and run until February 27th. You can buy tickets for the show on theirwebsite.