TCC theater returns from the pandemic starting Wednesday night


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — To be, or not to be that is the question.

In fact, there were many questions on when theaters could make a comeback after the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

For Tidewater Community College’s theater department, the answer is the show must go on — outdoors — starting Wednesday night.

“It’s just a very festive atmosphere. We take Shakespeare’s plays, which are sometimes around three hours, and we condense them into a two-hour run,” said Matthew Gorris, the department’s theater director.

With a little elbow grease and a dusting of the keys, the magic is unfolding as the play’s directors set up for a showstopper.

TCC is hosting Shakespeare in the Grove starting at 8 p.m. each night from June 23-27. It will be at the new outdoor “grove” platform, behind the Pass Building on TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, 1428 Cedar Road.

The performances feature Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night or What You Will.”

Gorris says they made do with radio plays over the past year, but nothing beats the real deal.

“There’s something about the audience reaction, having that live reaction. The actors miss it,” explained Gorris.

This year’s cast is limited, social distancing rules are still enforced, and they will be contact tracing for anyone who needs to go into a building. But the cast who’s been prepping for months is ready to perform for a live audience once again.

“I think it’s a small trade-off to get the arts back up and running in Hampton Roads,” stated Gorris.

Kick back, relax, spread out a blanket, and enjoy the show every night now through Sunday on the lawn off Cedar Road, starting at 8 p.m.

“We are just so happy to bring theater back. Not just to TCC, but the community,” said Gorris.

Though the curtain will eventually close on this performance, the spotlight will continue to shine on the community members with a passion for drama.

The event is free but it’s important to remember it’s first-come, first-served because of the social distancing requirements.

Refreshments can also be purchased on-site from the Kiwanis Club of Chesapeake, including popcorn, ice cream, burgers, sodas and more.

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