The show must go on: Mixed Magic Theatre to stream its plays online
Damage to theater space prompts the group to put its performances online
PAWTUCKET – While the Mixed Magic Theatre performance space on Mineral Spring Avenue will be temporarily closed as the roof is repaired, the show will go on, with performances over the next few weeks live-streamed online from a rehearsal space inside the Lorraine Mills.
Mixed Magic Theatre co-founder Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, in an interview with The Times on Wednesday, explained that work is ongoing on the roof above their heads to eradicate a leak at the converted factory building at 560 Mineral Spring Ave.
A long-term problem in several parts of the roof above the performance space was described as a matter of critical concern that necessitated closing the venue until further notice.
“Our whole roof has to be replaced and measures are being taken to replace it,” Pitts-Wiley said. “Eventually it came to a point where the bigger job had to be done.”
Repairs began on Wednesday and for the time being, only Mixed Magic’s administrative offices and lobby will remain open.
But as the roof is undergoing needed repairs, Pitts-Wiley turned his attention to the short-term future of the theater’s performances.
“We’re going to live stream the shows we had scheduled, share them with the audience, and hopefully
people see the work and make a donation based on the live stream...” he said. “Normally, we’d schedule a run of each show, between six to 12 performances. The way we have to do it now, we’ll rehearse it as if we’re doing a run of the show but we’ll stage it so that we do one performance and stream it live. Under normal circumstances, it would be a run. Our mission is to do live theater, we’ll go back to that as soon as we can.”
“We have a studio space in the building we rehearse in, that we can convert into a
television studio that we can live-stream from,” he said.
Streaming via Facebook Live, Mixed Magic Theatre will showcase a series of shows over the coming weeks. On Saturday at 3 p.m. will be a reading of “Barracoon” by Zora Neale Hurston, with a scholarly lecture to follow. On Sunday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. is a concert version of “The Spirit Warrior’s Dream,” an original rock opera written by Pitts-Wiley. On Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. will be another original from Pitts-Wiley: “Celebrations: An African Odyssey.” The annual “Great Holiday Traditions” concert will also be streamed online on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m.
For Pitts-Wiley, who has called Pawtucket home for more than a decade, it was of “vital importance” to stay in the city while repairs were ongoing at the theater’s performance space.
“We didn’t want to leave our home in Pawtucket. The audience we’re building is connected to our space. A number of organizations in the arts community offered us an opportunity to perform in their space. We’re not lacking in opportunity,” he said. “We’re based on Mineral Spring Avenue. We believe something important is happening there and we want to continue to be a part of it.”
“We decided to continue to build the shows we had planned through the end of the year,” Pitts-Wiley continued. “It’s uncertain how quickly we’ll be able to get back into the space, I hope before the end of the year.”
“There’s an energy that’s building over here and if we just shut down and left, we’d leave being a part of that and we didn’t want to do that,” he later said. “This is our home, we want to stay home, we’re not trying to have our audience look for us.”