MGA Theatre Director Envisions ‘Hybrid’ Production in Midst of Pandemic

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2020 12:00 AM
Categories: School of Arts and Letters | Pressroom | Students | Faculty/Staff

Macon, GA


Like many things in the age of COVID-19, theatre faces an uncertain future. When will it be safe for audiences to gather again to watch live drama productions?

Dr. Stephen Wisker, visiting theatre director at Middle Georgia State, doesn’t have the answer to that question but he has come up with a creative interim solution for the University: a virtual production that combines previously recorded performances with livestreamed elements to add up to a “hybrid” show. If Wisker can pull it off, the hybrid show would give students based on any of MGA’s five campuses, as well as those taking all of their courses online, opportunities to participate.

“I knew that a traditional stage production was not a realistic possibility for fall semester,” Wisker said. “I had also heard from a couple of students who were involved in theatre in the past who told me they were only taking online classes this fall. So I started developing ideas that might allow students to rehearse for a production both remotely and, with proper social distancing, in person. I thought that a creative online show would be a way to involve and reach the greatest number of students.”

To make his idea a reality, Wisker is now recruiting students to help him come up with a hybrid production to take place sometime in October. He’s looking for actors, dancers and singers, of course, as well as “backstage” tech-inclined students who can help stream productions that will be part live, part pre-recorded in public areas on MGA campuses. 

“For example, a student based on the Cochran Campus who wants to be involved as a performer would attend Zoom meetings, which would sometimes be recorded, or else the student might be sent away to film themselves or to meet up with another student to act with them or who will film them,” Wisker said. “If there were more than one Cochran Campus student who wants to be involved, or there was a section of the production we could film on that campus, I would arrange a rehearsal and get everyone necessary to meet there. On the technical side we will need students who can film and edit, and there might be music, sound effects, visual effects - whatever people are skilled at.”

Dr. Mary Wearn, dean of MGA’s School of Arts & Sciences, said Wisker’s idea is another example of University faculty and staff taking innovative approaches to student life activities during the pandemic.

“I look forward to seeing the results of this kind of experimentation,” she said.

Wisker would like to hear from any student, alumni, faculty, and staff interested in participating as actors musicians, dancers, and performers of any type. He especially wants to hear from students who can help out with the technical/non-acting/writing aspects of the production.

“I am particularly keen to find film students, editors, journalists and so forth, but I can usually find engaging roles for everybody on stage or off,” he said. “This is still developing and I’ll be creative with whoever comes forward. The more the merrier.”

Anyone interested in being part of the production can email Wisker at