Dear members of the Clark University Players Society, members of the Clark theatre community, and all undergraduate students of Clark University,
At this juncture, we assume everyone is aware of Clark University's public responses and counteractive measures to the COVID-19 international pandemic. If you are not familiar with Clark's evolving position on this matter, we encourage you to stay up-to-date on Clark's website, where they have dedicated a page for information updates on how COVID-19 is effecting campus life and future plans for the semester, including Commencement. Included in these precautions is a mandatory cancelation of all Clark events exceeding 20 persons, as well as a mandatory evacuation of all Clark campus housing by Sunday, March 22nd, at 5:00 pm.
In compliance with these circumstances, the Clark University Players Society has no choice but to cancel or postpone the majority of our current season, effective Friday, March 20th. We are devastated by this decision but remain hopeful that most, if not all of our spring performances, workshops, and lectures can still be enjoyed by the Clark and Main South community next semester when we reconvene in the fall. For updates pertaining to specific programs, events, and important developments organized or co-hosted by CUPS, please continue reading below to stay informed.
Furthermore, CUPS feels a responsibility to highlight community resources that have been made available in light of the campus closure. The Clark U Community Aid Spreadsheet is a student-led effort to create a list of resources in the surrounding neighborhood for evacuating students, including food, storage, and transportation. The Clark Center for Counseling & Personal Growth has made plans in the interim to offer virtual counseling to students interested in pursuing it. And a new website has launched to assist freelance artists and performers all over the country that might be struggling to create amidst the cancelation or postponement of art exhibitions, performances, and other major events.
To our student playwrights, actors and designers who joined CUPS at any point throughout the academic year, including for the 6th New Play Festival, Play-in-a-Day 2020, Mini-Playfest (CUPS loves playfests), and our spring production of The School for Lies, we are beyond thankful for the incredible talent, devotion, and hard work you have shown us. This is a turbulent, confusing, and emotional time for our campus community, and we encourage you all to allow yourselves to be overwhelmed while finding ways to help yourselves, your peers, and your loved ones. We expect to see you all in the fall, ready to roll up our sleeves and get back to being on or off the stage doing what we all love to do.
Spring 2020 Contingencies
It is with a heavy heart that we are forced to cancel Mini-Playfest, a first-of-its-kind event, due to the Worcester Public Schools closing until Monday, April 6th. Not only is it impossible for CUPS to work with Canterbury Street School's student artists on this event, but our partner organization, Main IDEA Youth & Arts, is forced to suspend their spring programming as well.
While closures on the part of Main IDEA and WPS are out of our hands, we have checked in with our student playwrights and explained the circumstances of this cancelation. CUPS remains hopeful that Mini-Playfest will be able to have its inaugural launch in the fall 2020 semester when WPS and Clark University is set to reopen definitively.
THE ART OF ACCESSIBILITY
Postponed to Fall 2020
Our lecture and Q&A with School for Lies director Andrew Child, co-hosted by the Clark Visual & Performing Arts Dept., will be postponed to next semester, fall 2021. Andrew and members of the CUPS board are both deeply sad we will not get the chance to open up such an important dialogue this month, but we believe the topic of theatre and access will prove just as relevant in September or October as it does now. We invite you to stay tuned for more information about when exactly this event will happen.
THE SCHOOL FOR LIES
At this moment, it is unclear what the future of our spring production of The School for Lies, written by David Ives and directed by Andrew Child, exactly entails. We are currently in talks to postpone our run to a mid-fall performance next semester at an off-campus venue, or in an on-campus performance space. Please stay tuned, and for now, we encourage everyone to read the Executive Board’s full letter to the cast and crew regarding our postponement, which can be accessed here.
EXECUTIVE BOARD ELECTIONS
Online Elections - Details Forthcoming
As a student organization operating under Clark University's Student Leadership & Programming, CUPS must abide by certain expectations set forth by the university. Among those is an annual fair elections process, where members of CUPS democratically elect a President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. To ensure we still meet the needs of the university and our constituents, the current Executive Board will organize a digital election via closed anonymous Google forms and pre-recorded candidate speeches. Students who have participated in a CUPS event or performance in the past academic year should check their emails later this month for more information on elections, including the process to run for positions.
2020 END-OF-SEASON THEATRE BANQUET
Unfortunately, CUPS has ruled that it is not feasible to go forward with a fair and balanced 2020 End-of-Season Theatre Banquet due to the numerous student organizations that traditionally collaborate with us on the event. We are so sorry to what a disappointment this must be to graduating seniors, who are typically honored at our banquet with Paper Plate Awards & Superlatives, first-years who have never experienced Banquet, and all other students affected by this. CUPS is open to the possibility of creating an online tribute to ensure that seniors are still honored for their time in Clark theatre, which we hope to discuss with our traditional Banquet cohort.
POOR CONNECTION IN NYC
Continuing as Planned
Undiscovered Works' directed reading of the 6th New Play Festival's Poor Connection, written by Brett Iarrobino, directed by Leah Abrams, and starring Maddie Thomas and Cohen Cohen-Kowan, is continuing as planned. A rehearsal in early April for the reading has been postponed to a later date, but CUPS remains hopeful that positive results from the national response to COVID-19 will allow for the reading to take place on its originally-schedule date of May 11th. Continue checking our website for more information on the reading.
LITTLE CENTER CLOSURE
As most of our community members know, the Little Center will be shutting its doors on Sunday, May 3rd to undergo extensive renovations throughout the 2020-21 academic year. We expect the Little Center to reopen mid-August 2021, in time for the 7th biennial New Play Festival; until then, CUPS is exploring viability for moving our mainstage production off-campus, while we will likely hold our fall and spring 24-Hour Playfests in Atwood Hall. We are hoping to create a temporary office space in Atwood alongside the Theatre Dept. offices relocating there. To honor the Little Center and the decades of theatre it has seen inside its walls, CUPS will be writing a memorial detailing its history, including the main stage's namesake, Clark theatre alum Goldie Michelson, and will post this mid-April on our website and social media outlets. Please continue to check CUPS' online presence for details on next semester's mainstage production, our 24-Hour Playfests, Mini-Playfest, the Art of Accessibility, and much, much more.