An Acting Coach On What Classes + Live-Theater May Be Like Post-Pandemic

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Now that vaccines are becoming available and ultimately will reach a majority of people, what will the future hold for in-person acting classes and live theater? While no one can predict exactly what will happen, there are certain seemingly likely outcomes. We are all forever changed by this shutdown and the discoveries we’ve made out of necessity because of it, so new adaptations may become more permanently part of our industry.

When the shutdown began, most acting schools either came to a complete stop or held limited online classes. At our studio, which always offered online classes and moved completely to the digital space in consideration of the pandemic, students were surprised at the effectiveness and substantial creative benefits of the online work.

For many, this move proved online acting instruction can be extremely effective and there’s now a new perception of the platform. This may impact people’s future choices when considering how and where they choose to study.

Since online classes created during the shutdown often enrolled nationwide and international students, future in-person classes will by necessity have to follow a hybrid format to accommodate remote learners. This will be a combination of in-person and online students, offering certain unique advantages including increased accessibility. The online element will also continue offering the freedom of not having to wear a mask or socially distance while working on-camera. At the same time, it will limit the number of students meeting in person, allowing for safer distancing for attendees in any classroom setting.

Even if in-person classes become the norm for most people, online classes may now be preferred for those who cannot afford the cost of moving to another city or who have commitments like childcare or jobs that limit their availability. These students may prefer online courses as they find they can seriously train at the highest level while readying themselves for a time when they can work on set. Others may feel they need more time to psychologically feel safe and prefer to stay online until they feel comfortable being in person. 

In-person classes will most likely be smaller to allow for social distancing and masks will most likely be worn throughout the class. Perhaps temperatures will be taken and vaccinations may be required or requested. Maybe eventually there will be a time when the current pandemic will be far enough behind us that in-person activities without social distancing and masks will be the norm, and that will influence more students to seek in-person acting classes.

Many people believe that self-taped auditions will continue to be the preferred form going forward, saving productions both time and money. This ultimately allows the same competitive opportunities to remote, online-trained actors as it does to local, in-person-trained actors.

As for live theater, the future seems to be partially-filled theaters with masked audience members and vaccinated performers. But will larger theaters be able to sustain themselves economically without full houses? Live theater may devise a hybrid platform for their performances, with online and in-person elements blended together.

Careful research and creative solutions focusing on safety should be the cornerstone for acting students and live theater attendees who will have personal choices to make concerning participation. No one can predict the future, but we can all stay aware and try to make the best choices while continuing to participate in the art we love.

Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Joanne Baron
Joanne Baron is an actor, producer, and the artistic director of the Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio in Santa Monica, Calif.
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