While adjusting to the new social-distancing directives in this time of Covid-19, theaters and arts organizations from Providence to New London and in between are coming up with some novel ways to stay connected and offer inspiration.

James Merrill House

In Stonington, the good folks at the James Merrill House have announced that current writer-in-residence Keith Wilson will livestream a reading on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. 

"During difficult times, we need the arts more than ever to lift our spirits," said Laura Mathews, the Merrill House communications director. 

Anyone can participate by following the link provided on the James Merrill House Facebook page or YouTube channel, Matthews added, and audience members will also have the opportunity to ask Wilson questions after he reads.

An Affrilachian poet and Cave Canem fellow, Wilson has received many fellowships and grants and serves as assistant poetry editor at "Four Way Review" and Digital Media Editor at "Obsidian Journal." His book "Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love" was published by Copper Canyon. His work in game design includes "Once Upon a Tale," a storytelling card game designed for Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago in collaboration with The Field Museum of Chicago, and alternate reality games (ARGs) for the University of Chicago. He has collaborated with or taught new media at Kenyon College, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and the University of Chicago.

To participate in the livestream and to learn more about the James Merrill House, visit jamesmerrillhouse.org.

United Theatre

At the United Theatre, movie-lovers are invited to enter the theater's virtual screening room to watch the acclaimed hit documentary "Fantastic Fungi" Thursday. The one-of-a-kind immersive consciousness-shifting screening event will "interconnect global communities as we mirror the wisdom of the underground mycelium network and connect with one another," according to United Artistic Director Tony Nunes.  

Viewers can visit the link below to rent the film ($4.99 for 48 hours) or purchase it ($14.99) and support the United Theatre at the same time, Nunes said. When you rent or purchase the film using the link, a portion of the proceeds directly benefit the United. The link is https://vimeo.com/ondemand/unitedtheatre.

There will also be a digital live Q&A with the filmmakers on Thursday at 9 p.m. Those interested can register at: zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FP6tCrG2T72OnKdiakAySQ.

Providence Performing Arts Center

The Providence Performing Arts Center announced the cancellation of "The Spongebob Musical," since the producers of the North American tour announced that the tour has closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. The show was scheduled to be performed from May 12-17. Ticketholders will receive full refunds via their original form of payment, according to Caitlyn DiPompo, the arts center's marketing projects specialist.

As of now, she said, "Dear Evan Hansen" scheduled for May 26-31, is still on the docket. Although the box office is closed, the phone lines are open by calling 401-421-2787 or send an email to boxofficequestions@ppacri.org.

The Gamm

At the Gamm Theatre, although the remainder of the season has been canceled, Artistic Director Tony Estrella is offering the public the chance to join him for his first-ever live episode of "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" Friday at 1 p.m. Viewers are encouraged to sign on to ask questions and comment live at youtube.com/gammtheatre.

Trinity Rep

Every Wednesday, Trinity Rep plans to check in with one of their resident acting company members on Facebook to "see what they're up to when they're not on stage," according to a recent post. 

The check-in kicked off on Wednesday with Rebecca Gibel, who played Lucie Manette in "A Tale of Two Cities," and Sheila Cianci in "The Prince of Providence" earlier this season. Gibel plays the blond bombshell Louise Swig in the first episode of HBO's "The Plot Against America," which is now streaming on HBOGo, and recently appeared in "Spenser Confidential," which is streaming on Netflix, where she gets to tackle actor Mark Wahlberg.

WaterFire Arts Center

The WaterFire Arts Center in Providence is inviting virtual guests to visit twitch.tv/waterfireprovidence to "gather around the Beacon of Light here at the WaterFire Arts Center in hopes to provide a place to have an intimate, calm, and quiet experience to reflect and center ourselves. After you virtually spend time in the WFAC, please share a wish, an encouragement, a hope, or a remembrance in the chat."

After all, the Waterfire staff added to the invitation, "community and connection with each other is more important than ever during a time of crisis."


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