Baylor Theatre prepares for new year with exciting show line-up

Theatre students are looking forward to returning to the stage and connecting with a live audience. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Tori Templet | Staff Writer

As the fall semester begins, Baylor Theatre prepares to take the stage for six new shows throughout the school year.

Dr. DeAnna Toten Beard, Baylor theatre department chair, said they are planning for all shows to be in-person with live audiences. The department will be doing a combination of plays along with its musicals.

“It’s going to be varied, and we’re really excited about it,” Toten Beard said.

Baylor Theatre has faced many challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as every show last year was online except one. With hopes that restrictions will be lifted, students and staff remain high-spirited.

“We were happy to keep making art last year, but we were missing the presence of each other in the same space,” Toten Beard said. “To have audiences close and gathered where you can feel the energy, theater lives in that live relationship between all participants.”

Suwanee, Ga., senior Alexandra Varitek said she is looking forward to hopefully having an audience back in the theater as students mostly had to watch their friends and colleagues through the “sheen of a silver screen” last year.

“There’s something so much more magical about viewing it all through your own eyes,” Varitek said. “I’m hopeful that this next semester will include the connectivity of collaborative workspaces again.”

Toten Beard said they will continue to follow the university’s guidelines as the year goes on, just as they did last year.

Students are looking forward to what this year will hold with a new appreciation for the theater. Coppell senior Macy Johnson said she learned to really appreciate working with such passionate people.

“In the pandemic, every ounce of theater produced was defying all odds,” Johnson said. “All of our recorded or streamed productions, while certainly not what we were used to, were such great examples of the drive we have to make art happen. I am inspired, and I deeply appreciate this attitude from all of my peers.”

While the theater department makes the transition into this semester, there is a glimmer of hope and excitement to see old and new faces and to experience Baylor Theatre at its fullest potential.

“We may shed a collective tear, a synchronous gasp or the overlapping utterances of laughter,” Varitek said. “That’s the beauty of live theater; nothing can recreate that. I believe the theater has resilience because it has empathy, and that we will share a sentiment together in the seats of a show again soon.”