Five years ago, the Theatre program at CFCArts was born. Since then, we've produced 34 full-scale productions in our Blackbox Theatre in downtown Orlando for over 25,000 patrons and with hundreds of artists. It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to wreak havoc on arts organizations and theatre companies locally and around the country. While we may not know exactly what the road ahead is like, we would like to take this moment to celebrate and support the Theatre Program at CFCArts. This year, in lieu of our annual in-person fundraiser, we are going virtual, with a look at Season 5, messages of hope from some of this year's artists, and a goal to raise necessary funds to ensure the lasting sustainability of our Theatre. We hope that you'll consider making a contribution to help us get to the other side of the pandemic, and we can't wait to get back on stage.
This year, the Theatre program at CFCArts began its 5th Season with a bang: Bye Bye Birdie became our highest-selling production of all time! We tackled some hard issues with Next to Normal and the incredible production of Twelve Angry Jurors, which we produced in partnership with the Orange County History Center, making use of the gorgeous historic courtroom in Downtown Orlando. For the holiday season, we tackled the classic A Christmas Story, and started 2020 with the star-studded cast of The Lion in Winter. Next, the original musical written by our own Director of Theatre Donald Rupe From Here inspired a partnership with the One Orlando Alliance, where we held weekly talkbacks with members of the LGBT+ community. Unfortunately, our final planned production of Season 5 (Rodger and Hammerstein's Cinderella) didn't make it to the stage in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but we hope to one day bring this classic to life.
Since the Pandemic, the Theatre program quickly launched into action with three virtual-friendly programs: "Time to Write" was a challenge to local playwrights, which has resulted in over 60 original plays, "Time to Act" is a series of audio productions of some of Shakespeare's classics, and "Time to Sing" is an opportunity for artists to share videos of performances from home. Soon, the Theatre program at CFCArts Theatre will produce a series of virtual concerts and virtual play-readings of some of the new scripts which we received during the "Time to Write" challenge! We are hopeful to one day return to normalcy and programming like we are used to, but until that day comes, we are committed to innovating and finding new ways to make sure Theatre can remain an integral part of our community's day-to-day life.
Check out our Season 5 Virtual Re-Cap on June 30 at 7 PM at CFCArts.com/Season5 (The video will stay live on this page for two weeks!) and donate and share today!
Photography by Ashleigh Ann Gardner, ashleighagardner.com