MALVERN, PA.: People’s Light has announced a reimagined 2020-21 season, focusing on filmed theatrical productions with a hopeful eye on returning to the stage in March 2021.
“People’s Light is a place of gathering and storytelling,” said executive artistic director Abigail Adams in a statement, “yet how do we gather during an unyielding pandemic? There’s so much we don’t know and so much out of our control. But theatremakers are trained to envision and create worlds that are not yet possible. In that spirit, we want to share our hopes for a reimagined 2020-21 season, but also wish to be candid about the factors that might lead to further shifts in programming.”
As part of the adjustments made by the theatre, People’s Light is postponing the world premieres of Mushroom by Eisa Davis and Zak Berkman’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol until the 2021-22 season. Additionally the company’s production of A Raisin in the Sun is postponed until winter 2022 in the hopes of being able to have students attend. Future plans for Lee Blessing’s Tea With the Boss, which was to be staged next season, have not been confirmed.
Spring 2021 will feature three stage productions. A production that will be announced by December 2020 will join the world premieres of Walden by Amy Berryman, directed by Jackson Gay, and Personality: The Lloyd Price Musical, written by B. Jeffrey Madoff with the music of Lloyd Price, directed by Sheldon Epps.
The season will end with the summer’s previously scheduled productions of Steel Magnolias, by Robert Harling, directed by Adams, and Sherlock Holmes and The Raven’s Curse, by R. Hamilton Wright, directed by David Bradley. Specific dates for the 2020-21 season have not been announced.
Additionally the 2020-21 season will feature a series of free play readings in the spring. Included will be Davis’s Mushroom and Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland by Steve H. Broadnax III, which will both premiere in the 2021-22 season. There will also be readings of new plays by women focused on reshaping the future surrounding the production of Walden. Included will be Laura Schellhardt’s New Play Frontiers-commissioned play The Game & The Change.
In the meantime, People’s Light is hoping to film two or three plays for this fall and winter, which would be added to their digital stage Always On along with a holiday concert featuring music from the in-progress adaptation of A Christmas Carol. However, at this time there is no agreement between the League of Resident Theatres and the unions to allow People’s Light to gather to create these recordings, a situation the theatre hopes will change in the next few months to allow them to safely bring small teams into their theatre to create filmed productions designed specifically for home viewing.