Planned Elgin performance pivots to Shakespeare-on-your-screen

What was initially planned to be a Shakespeare-in-the-Park performance is now a streamable Shakespeare-on-your-screen experience.

The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission and the Goodly Creatures Theatre had to do the pandemic pivot and switch from their original outdoor plan to a virtual version of their production of the William Shakespeare comedy "Much Ado About Nothing."

The virtual version of the performance went online Aug. 21 and can be seen until Sept. 21 on the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission webpage at and the Goodly Creature's YouTube Channel. It also will air on Elgin's public access television channel on Sundays at 2 p.m. and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.

"With the pandemic keeping people inside and isolated, we need the arts and the creative outlet that they provide now more than ever," said Amanda Harris, assistant to the city manager for special projects and the arts. "But we have to be responsible with how we host public events in order to keep people safe and stay in line with the states reopening phases."

The performance is presented in a remote, group-meeting style with actors socially distancing and performing from various locations.

"By moving to a virtual event, not only would the show be available online, but the entire setting of the show would be digital," Harris said. "We thought that would really resonate with the public and decided it was the right move."

She said the city was doing its part to support the arts, knowing that many artists are currently struggling.

"It's no secret that the COVID outbreak has hurt the arts in a very real way," said Harris, adding that "it has (also) changed the way that we think about access and highlighted why the creative outlet is important. People miss the shows, the music, the art, the interaction. By putting things online or making events drive-through, we are able to keep answering a part of that need."

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