The will of the theater department

Due to COVID-19, the theater department has had to overcome many obstacles educationally and creatively. Two students from the department discuss their experiences with the online transition in the classroom and for productions.


Aidan Stromdahl
During the fall semester, the theatre department presented “2020 Discoveries,” a virtual series of student performances that reflected on the isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The department has continued to thrive creatively despite the rapid shift to an online environment.

Lyla Lee, A&E Reporter

Last spring semester, when the country was suddenly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamline University’s theatre department faced many impacts head on. Like many departments, they had to transition to an online platform. Theater is known for live visual and auditory entertainment, but when they transition to a platform that takes away those elements, it can be very difficult.

Despite the odds, the department continues to run and find new ways to create. Although it is easy to believe that online platforms are limiting, some might say that it has actually inspired new ways of creating. From classes to productions, the theater department is constantly overcoming all of the challenges that the pandemic has brought.

Senior Ian Olson discussed his own experiences over the past couple of months as a student in the theater program. He mentioned how the restrictions and limits that an online platform has on an artist actually pushes them to work hard and find new ways to create. 

“It was a difficult transition at first but we’ve gotten used to it. We are showing our passion for what we’re doing with how much we’re persevering through everything,” Olson said. “The main thing I’ve seen with all this is the determination to keep on working. As this has been going on, the theatre department has been putting on shows, trying out different ideas and having student projects be the center focus last fall.”

Even more, Olson discusses how online platforms have actually helped the department in regards to productions.

“I always look for the silver lining of it all. We may not have live shows but now we have people who are further away and can see our productions,” Olson said. “I know plenty of people who were from entirely different states watch our last show and they wouldn’t have been able to before. This may not be what we’re used to but we have our benefits for sure.”

In addition, one of the stage managers and assistant to the production manager, sophomore Ajah Williams, talked about the many opportunities that came because of the online platform.

 “I think students have been able to be a lot more creative in that regard. There are a lot more student-driven pieces happening and it’s really nice to see them be able to tap into the creative side of the department,” Williams said.

Williams also explained the process of hosting productions online. 

“All of our productions have been online this past academic year. Everything is pre-recorded and edited together so it’s been a lot more work for the sound and media shop in the theatre, ” Williams said.

Aidan Stromdahl

Ultimately, the department continues to persevere and thrive as they try to explore even more ways to create. Both Olson and Williams announced that there will be another play called “365” that will stream this spring semester, as well as a live dance performance. Be on the lookout for more information about the different productions and events the department has planned for the near future.