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Palm Beach Dramaworks Hosts Virtual Play Readings During COVID-19 Shutdowns

Palm Beach Dramaworks
Palm Beach Dramaworks is taking play readings like this one and taking them online during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Think about the last time you saw a Broadway blockbuster in a theater. Chances are that musical or play began its life as a reading.

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That’s when a group of actors sit, stand or sometimes move around a stage, reading aloud from the script. It’s typically done before a live audience, who get to watch it for free. For the playwright, it’s a chance to see — for the first time — their words taken off the page and onto the stage.

Once the coronavirus pandemic hit, and theaters started shutting down, Palm Beach Dramaworks had to take its series of weekly readings and move it online.

The virtual series called "Drama(in the)works," premiered April 27 and will continue through June 22, with a live reading every Monday at 7 p.m. through Zoom. As with most traditional play readings, each "Drama(in the)works" web event is followed by a talk-back, albeit digitally. The theater is using Zoom's "webinar" format, which allows viewers to enter their question or comment in a Q&A section at the bottom of their screen.

"Of course, what that means for us is that we don't get to hear the laughter, we don't get to hear the crying or the gasps or any of that stuff," says Bruce Linser, manager of the theater's "Dramaworkshop," a lab aimed at developing new plays.

"It will never replace the actual experience that we're all used to and that we're all hungry for," says Linser. "And we really look forward to the time when we can come back and do that all together in the same room again."


Palm Beach Dramaworks
"Drama(in the)works" play readings

Before You Go (Online):

  • Readings are every Monday at 7pm, through June 22nd.
  • Admission is FREE but reservations are required.
  • "Tickets" are available the Wednesday before each reading.
  • For more information, please visit Palm Beach Dramaworks

------------------------------This interview is part of WLRN’s series, “Intermission,” a look at how South Florida’s arts community is using social media to connect with audiences during social distancing. 

If you're an artist or arts organization finding new ways to do this, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at talktous@wlrnnews.org with the word "Intermission" in the subject line. Or call 305-376-3777.