Pawtucket Times

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

- By JONATHAN BISSONNETT­E jbis­son­nette@paw­tuck­et­

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.”

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