For Theater of War Productions, going digital wasn’t just a response to the pandemic — it gave them a new opportunity to connect people from all walks of life in ways that weren’t possible before.
“We could do a performance at a homeless shelter and hear insights from a group very close to the issue, then go to Lincoln Center later that day and do the same performance, but the possibility of those separate audiences sitting together and engaging simultaneously wasn’t ever afforded to us before,” Goldsmith said. “That’s the opportunity Zoom provides. It traverses boundaries we were trying to overcome.”
Doerries added, “We intend to never go back to how things were before.” Having shifted its model of engagement during the pandemic, Theater of War Productions isn’t done evolving — the company is in the process of reimagining its performances in a hybrid format through a project called the Digital Amphitheater.
With a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Theater of War Productions will “build” the Digital Amphitheater to expand its reach and explore new formats for hybrid events, which will involve performing in physical spaces like homeless shelters, prisons, and military bases, and broadcasting live to a global audience.
“We’ll be hearing from communities very close to the issues we’re trying to address, and bringing those audiences into digital dialogue with people all over the planet via Zoom,” Doerries explained.
He and Goldsmith envision the Digital Amphitheater as a space where ancient and modern technologies combine to bring people together to have their voices and experiences heard.
“When you’re crossing boundaries and borders, and people are sharing and creating this raw, vulnerable space, suddenly, Zoom is the most humanizing tool there is,” Doerries said. “It creates a space where anything is possible because it’s so accessible.”
Visit www.theaterofwar.com for more information and upcoming events, and follow @theaterofwar on social media. Learn more about using Zoom Webinar for your own virtual and hybrid events.