Theatre club remains active, virtually

Rebecca Dunphy, News editor

Nearly every aspect of campus life has been modified to comply with COVID-19 mitigation ef-forts, and RSCO meetings and policies are no exception. Nonetheless, students continue to display resiliency as they adapt to guidelines and bring a new wave of virtual and socially distant programming. One such organization, the Mercyhurst Theatre Club, has used their executive board members’ creativity and flexibility to ensure group cohesion.“Dr. Johnson, with the help of the officers, has been working tirelessly to bring our university the enjoyment of theater in a time where we need it most,” said Theatre Club president Jon Redding-er. “The biggest obstacle that we have had to face is that we’re having to change a heavily social club into one that must be strictly virtual. This has been a real challenge giving the nature of theater, and the club normally being a close-knit community. Not being able to see all of our members’ smiling faces every day has been hard.”Thus far, the club has hosted two meetings, each of which has been conducted virtually. The first meeting was an introduction to the club, its offers, and its function. Special guests included Mercy-hurst Theatre alumni who spoke about their experiences. The group utilized breakout sessions and trivia games as a way to get students acquainted with one another. The second meeting, also with a special guest, featured a Q&A with professional actor Matt Doyle. Doyle has appeared in numerous Broadway productions including “Spring Awakening” (2006), “The Book of Mormon” (2011), “War Horse” (2011), and the revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s “Company” (2020).“[This] was an amazing opportunity to talk to someone who works in the theatre industry and learn not only about him and his career but also how Broadway is adapting to the pandemic,” said Theatre Club historian Allison Christopher. The club’s next meeting will be held in-person on Oct. 12, with more information yet to come. This event will still follow all social distancing guidelines with members participating in fall-themed games and activities. Other upcoming events include a movie night and social media-based activities. Through all the challenges that planning socially distanced events may present, officers are still proud to offer an opportunity for students to meet and spend time together.“The arts and the social aspect of it can be a nice escape from the hectic world we live in, full of Zoom meetings and ever-chang-ing news,” said Christopher. “It allows students to gather with other like-minded individuals who love theater and forget about all the other stressors in life. It provides an environment for people to socialize with each other which is extremely important in this new physically distanced world we live in.”Theatre Club vice president Braden Rosciszewski shares similar sentiments.“I’ve learned that having these interactions, however small they may be, are crucial to our mental health. In a time when we cannot see people in intimate settings it is a great opportunity to try new formats and new experiences,” Rosciszewski said. “While we would all love to get back to doing things up close and in person, there are so many new opportunities for us in the age of technology.”Students interested in joining can contact Reddinger at“We must look to the future with the hope that living will return to normal, or to at least a new normal where everyone can be safe, while still being able to interact in person,” Reddinger said.