Lisa Condit, vice president of communications for The Hanover Theatre, spoke with Kelly Rourke, our conservatory business strategist. Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below, for the latest on more than 30 spring classes in acting, dancing, technical theatre and more, plus COVID-19 safety precautions. Then tune in to WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.
Lisa: I know that the question that everybody wants to ask is, “So how is it going with the conservatory classes?” Maybe they’re thinking that it would be fun to take an adult improv, or maybe a dance class, but how is that working, especially in light of what’s going on with the coronavirus, dare we say it.
Kelly: We’ve been really fortunate to have been able to successfully have classes safely. We do have class options both in person and online. We started back in our fall semester, back in September, and we’re continuing along with that model for our spring classes.
Online Classes and In Person Precautions Put Safety First
Kelly: Everyone in our studios is required to wear masks at all times and we have all of our classes socially distanced. If you are taking a class online, there will be a hybrid format where we have our Apple TV’s in each of our studios with projectors, so the students in the studio can see people who are online and vice versa. It’s really cool way of doing things.
There are a variety of ways to join in our classes, and there are some classes specifically that are completely online as well.
We’ve been really fortunate that all of our policies and procedures have worked. We’re obviously deep cleaning everything. Each studio is cleaned after every class using electrostatic sprayers, so we were really, really diligent about that.
Our class sizes are always small to keep some individualized instruction and make sure every student is getting a great experience.
But we’ve made sure that all classes are below the ten person limit that is currently in effect for the state, just as an extra measure there.
Something to Look Forward to: Conservatory Students Sharpen Skills
Lisa: I imagine that during this time period there are a lot of people, millions of us actually, who are working from home and having something to look forward to that isn’t associated with work or necessarily the people in their surroundings I imagine would make the online offerings really popular. Do you mind taking us through some of those adult offerings?
Kelly: Adult Improv is always a really popular one. A lot of people like to take it to help them improve their thinking-on-their-feet skills, maybe kind of getting out of their comfort zone. It may help you with confidence in presentations at work, and it helps you develop skills that you can use in the real world.
Classes Offer Community in the Midst of Isolation
Lisa: Tell us more about the other age appropriate classes and offerings.
Kelly: We have classes available for all ages and all of our different discipline areas, so theatre, dance, design, all that jazz. Specifically, some of our great theatre class offerings, we have some good availability for the younger age group, so that kindergarten through third grade age group. Those classes are, Imaginative Play, Folk & Fairytale and World Explorers.
These classes are really, really fun for kids in that age group to just use their imaginations and get some fun creative energy out in a really safe and supportive environment. It teaches them a lot of teamwork and listening and communication skills.
For our preteens and teens, there are a lot of great options as well. With preteens, the most popular class is Creative Drama and our Beginners Improv class, as well. Then, for teens, we have Acting I, Teen Improv, Acting Performance and then of course those technical theatre classes, too, such as Intro to Stage Management, Lighting I and Scenic Design.
It’s a really awesome community that the kids find here and they get to take classes with friends that enjoy the same sort of things that they do in kind of a different setting than school, so they get to really make those connections and foster relationships while they’re here. It’s really great to watch that.