University theater company performs for first live audience since late 2019

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DECATUR, Ala. – A university theater company is taking the stage in front of a live audience for the first time since November 2019.

“It’s just kind of a relief to be able to perform with people again,” said actor Marcus Patten.

The drama students from Athens State University had to switch to an all-virtual format when COVID-19 hit. Their latest production called “Love’s Fire” includes seven new plays inspired by Shakespearean sonnets.

The joint performance with students from Calhoun Community College is being performed at the Alabama Center for the Arts from April 15-17.

Each performer has added one major addition to their wardrobe, masks.

“When we get the clear masks on you can still see our expressions that we would normally be hiding under these,” said actor Trey Gulley.

“They were kind of difficult at first and we had some growing pains with them at first, people wanted to go back to cloth but the truth is once we got on stage with them you forgot they’re there,” said Professor Hugh Long of the Alabama Center for the Arts.

The audience is also required to wear masks, sit in socially distanced seats, and get their temperatures checked.

“I think that we’re doing this as safe as we possibly could,” said Lauren Cantrell Salerno, an instructor at the Alabama Center for the Arts

Tickets to the shows are free of charge. A live stream of the show will also available on the theater company’s Facebook page during the Thursday and Friday performances.

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