Orchesis 2021: 2020 the Dance
Each year, Sycamore Community School District 427's high school puts on Orchesis — a dance production involving students across all grade levels. Each year, all four shows sell out. Each year, that is, until the COVID pandemic shut the 2020 show down just before opening night.
Although COVID restrictions threatened to cancel the show for a second year in a row, it was a stroke of genius — or perhaps insanity — that Artistic Director Kristin Hill and Technical Producer David Olson decided they would be able produce the show outdoors.
As Events and Communications Specialist for District 427, I had a number of duties — assisting the ticket office in contacting patrons, planning for patron safety, and directing a team of students for the live broadcast of the show (another adaptation made for COVID).
It is customary to start a show with an announcement to welcome patrons into the venue and establish any especially pertinent safety information. I wrote and produced the pre show announcement.
I also wrote, tracked, and produced a number of inclement weather protocol announcements, including a lightning delay, general weather delay, and tornado delay — which we fortunately did not have occasion to use.
Lightning Delay Announcement
Good evening. Your attention, please. Due to a recent lightning strike, we must temporarily stop the show and assess the situation. At this time, we request that all patrons, performers, and production staff make their way into the field house. Additional information will be shared as it is available. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
What to Know Before You Go Email
This email was sent to ticket holders prior to their attendance of the show. The idea was proposed by Technical Producer David Olson and adapted from the language provided by the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, Illinois. I updated the language to our specifications and assembled for mass distribution.
Live Broadcast Director
Thanks to my background in television production, my role during each performance was to direct a team of students tasked with broadcasting the show. In total, I had oversight of six camera and jib operators, and I directed and technical directed for the duration of the nearly three hour long show. Our primary purpose was to shoot for broadcast; however, we often acted simultaneously as the primary feed for our in-house video wall director. Later, our recorded feed was used as a primary source for DVD production of the show.
A short sample of my directing can be viewed here.