Arts & Culture
Stray Dog Theatre
In the midst of an isolating pandemic, Stray Dog theatre is harnessing creativity and going above and beyond to ensure art reaches you.
In March, while Stray Dog Theatre was in rehearsals for Annie, the pandemic shut down entertainment venues across the country. Stray Dog Theatre was no exception — the theatre, intimate and thrilling in its best moments, became a bit too intimate and too thrilling with Covid.
But rather than settling for glitchy zoom recordings or cancelling the season altogether, Artistic Director Gary F. Bell saw a pivot was necessary. “Zoom was not going to cut it for me.” So they designed the Actor Pod — a plexiglass-enclosed booth where one actor could enter and perform for a camera, before leaving and sanitizing it for the next. Another innovation came in the form of a Halloween show — or rather, an audio experience: eerie readings of the poems and stories of Edgar Allen Poe, to be enjoyed from your own halloweeny home.
“We’re creative, we need to put on our creative hats and come up with new ways to pivot, and I think we have done that very successfully.” So though 2020 is over, Stray Dog is not finished with creative solutions to the pandemic problem. In 2021, the goal is to resume with every-other-month offerings, beginning in February with performances from their New Works Laboratory. This is an opportunity for people in the community to submit original songs for performance by artists, likely in the Actor Pods.
Gary hopes to resume in-person, indoor theater in Fall 2021, but the most important thing is making sure everyone feels safe and comfortable. “I want to make sure it is safe for my actors, designers, and the audience.” So when filming in the Actor Pods this past year, each person to enter the building would sign their name and provide info for contact tracing. Only one performer would be in the building at a time, and the next performer would arrive after a 30 minute stagger for cleaning and sanitation of the booth. This focus on safety, combined with the Theatre’s purchase of cameras for filming, and innovation in types of performances, has been a hit: “It’s kept performers busy and working, and it’s kept subscribers happy that there is something to be a part of.”
Despite the state of the world over this past year, Stray Dog Theatre continues to fulfill their mission of “unleashing the art of theatre and community service on Saint Louis and the surrounding community.” They continue to provide after-school arts programming in six Saint Louis Public Schools, providing a safe and creative space for students to be. Providing this service “is not just art, [this] service is really family-based,” ensuring working guardians know their child is being taken care of during these uncertain times.
If you can, please chip in to support Stray Dog Theatre until the performing arts can meet back in person. You can donate on their website here, as well as stay up-to-date with the various innovative performances coming this year.
Stray Dog Theatre (SDT) is committed to unleashing the art of theatre and community service in Saint Louis and the surrounding community.
2336 Tennessee Avenue
Saint Louis, MO 63104
Jonah Miller, Tateonna Thompson, Kevin Corpuz, Alyssa Wolf, William Humphrey, Dawn Schmid, and Riley Dunn
Stephen Peirick, Eileen Engel, Jeremy Goldmeier, and Abraham Shaw
Photo credit: John Lamb and Justin Been
Find More Non-Profits online
Communities In unityHarambee Youth TrainingAn interview with Executive Director, Jeffrey Clay. What is Harambee? Harambee is a training organization that works with at-risk youth ages 12-18. But that description doesn’t even begin to cover it. Harambee -- meaning...
Public SafetyGiftaMeala chat with Andrew Glantz, Founder and ceo How many times have you ordered food or eaten take-out at a restaurant in the past week? How about over the whole year of Covid? Now imagine if for every time you did, a meal was given to someone in...
EducatonSt. Louis Black Authors of Children's LiteratureAn interview with Julius B. Anthony , President Did you have books in your home growing up? Did you see yourself in the characters and stories taught to you in school? For black and brown children...
Public SafetySafe ConnectionsAn interview with Susan Kidder, CEO Safe Connections started from a single landline in 1978 and evolved into a multi-pronged program serving 20,000 people each year, they are dedicated to education, prevention, and treatment of domestic...
EducationLift for LifeAn interview with Reginald Moore Across all zip codes in Saint Louis City, students in middle and high school head to the Lift For Life gym after school for a program of fitness, mentorship, and hot meals during the hours that other kids might be...
Youth EducationGentlemen of Vision We chat with Marlon Wharton Gentlemen of Vision has a story that cuts to the core of what Saint Louis can be, look no further than Riverview Gardens High School in North County. Here, every Tuesday and Thursday, young men from more...
Arts & CultureSeries Six DesignsThere is no reason fashion and community uplift can’t go together. With her ever-growing line of Saint Louis-themed apparel, Sami Maurer is proving just that – through thoughtful partnerships with small businesses and nonprofits,...