Stage Door News
Washington, DC: IN Series announces its fully digital 2020/21 season
Monday, May 4, 2020
As performing arts organizations worldwide struggle to schedule live performance seasons in the midst of a global pandemic, IN Series leads the charge onto the digital stage by programming an entirely virtual season of opera-theater, designed to be experienced from the comfort and safety of home. Announcing this dramatic innovation on the date originally slated for IN Series’ annual gala, the enterprising company plans to roll out specific details of the season through the coming months, culminating in the unveiling of a Digital Opera House in July.
In a video statement released to patrons today, Artistic Director Timothy Nelson acknowledged the paralyzing uncertainty facing the performing arts, but stated: “This is a time for bold creativity, and above all else: optimism… We have taken the plunge and scrapped almost the entire season we had planned for next year – and not to do less, and not to do either what we already know or what is safe. Rather, we have thrown out what was our plan and instead furiously embarked on imagining a new season which responds to and is in conversation with our collective todays.”
Calling to mind the company’s mission and vision, Nelson stressed his commitment to accessibility and inclusion by announcing that the upcoming season would be offered free of charge. An opera house without walls, he proposed, will make this work “accessible to multitudes around the world in a way we could never have imagined before.” While he lamented that the virtual season would delay the launch of the Cardwell-Dawson Resident Artist Program for exceptional young singers of color, Nelson has already offered the extraordinary quartet of artists committed to the program additional performance opportunities within the new framework.
Emphasizing that “this will not be opera as usual, shrunk down to the small screen,” Nelson enumerated the hallmarks of this unprecedented plan:
· A Virtual Opera House designed to showcase all the creative content the company plans to produce this season and beyond
· An Expanded Season modeled after the most popular streaming services. Rather than the company’s typical six staged shows, IN Series plans to periodically release a minimum of twelve premieres, including feature-length films, opera-shorts, episodic series, and audio experiences in the style of radio plays,
· Technology as an Operatic Medium: virtual reality experiences, interactive opera inspired by gaming technology, and other 21st century content that is inspired creatively by older forms.
· Unexpected Collaborations with filmmakers, programmers, animators, movie theaters, radio stations and audio artists, dancers, singers, actors, writers, and creators both local and global.
· Subscriptions, available for purchase in June, will entitle the holder to early and extended access to all content, additional monthly concerts, access to live events and premiere parties when possible, and invitations to online artist receptions.
Nelson’s message was overwhelmingly optimistic, revealing in this time of insecurity “a uniquely powerful moment to reach wider audiences and to make a difference in their lives.” He ended by assuring audiences: “This fully digital season is a good thing. It allows us to expand our reach infinitely, sharing what we love, what moves us, what unites us, and who we are, with the broadest possible audience.”
ABOUT IN SERIES
IN Series is the standard-bearer for innovative opera theater in Washington DC. Working with local artists and diverse communities worldwide to create novel works grounded in opera and song, we challenge and reimagine these forms, folding in an expanding range of aesthetic and cultural traditions. IN Series envisions a thriving global community in which opera is a fully integrated and essential part of collective conversation. In picturing the journey to this end, IN Series is a change-maker – a force that, with each groundbreaking production and outreach event, radically transforms perceptions of the “who”, “what”, “where”, and “why” of opera: who gets to make opera and for whom is it made; what is defined as an operatic experience; where operas take place; why we make opera; and why opera matters.
Founded by Carla Hübner in 1982 as a concert series of the former Mount Vernon College, The In Series became an independent non-profit arts organization in 2000 and has been a resident company at Source Theater since 2008. Timothy Nelson assumed artistic directorship in 2018, quickly establishing the newly rebranded “IN Series” as DC’s home for “Thought, debate, history, and innovation” (DC Metro Theatre Arts) in opera.
IN Series: Opera that speaks. Theater that sings. www.inseries.org