Tough times during the coronavirus call for clever thought, and that’s exactly what’s happening in the arts community in Butler County.
Capped indoor seating and COVID-19 fears mean some performers are pivoting and bringing the beauty of what they do back to an audience outside.
Seats at the Madcap Education Center in Westwood have been empty since the coronavirus affected the ability of any performance to take the stage.
“You don’t really see the end of something like this,” Madcap Puppets artistic director Dylan Shelton said. "It seems it can go on and on indefinitely, so you look for little bright spots along the way.”
The next bright spot might have come as part of a series showcasing the collaborative work of Hamilton’s Fitton Center for Creative Arts and Butler County’s Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museumcalled "Fitton on the Hill."
“(At) the beginning of March, we had sold-out shows going to May and we postponed those for the longest time because we thought maybe we’d be able to get through to the other side,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, with the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton.
But they had to cancel the last part of their series and postpone the new season. That’s why the outside shows, which got underway last week, are so special.
“That’s our mission at Pyramid Hill – to bring people to art and nature,” said Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum executive director Sean Fitzgibbons. “This has taken a lot of planning, but we are thrilled to be able to move forward with a safe event.”
Tickets can be purchased in groups, which will be separated from other groups by a distance of six feet for safety.
The pre-set seating filled up Friday for round one outside. Event organizers said the musical performance by "The Just Strange Brothers" went great. It got local entertainers doing what they love – in front of people – who’ve missed shows like it for months now. The series engages crowds and employs sidelined artists.
Next up, the Madcap Puppets perform Pinocchio on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.
“It's not just about how are we going to survive, it's about reaching out to collaborators and lifting everyone up together,” Shelton said.
The last show in the Fitton on the Hill series is big bad jazz, again with a local focus. That performance takes place Sunday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m..
Information about times and tickets can be found here.