Celebration of the arts kicks off in October


A poster outside of the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts showcases the theatre’s upcoming season of performances. Throughout the month of October, shows held at the Columbia will be a part of Fanfare.

Every October, the university hosts a celebration of culture and the arts known as Fanfare.

In addition to performances and showcases that take place on campus, the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts also welcomes a variety of performances to help celebrate.

Jim Winter, artistic director of the Columbia Theatre and Fanfare, mentioned that every event taking place at the Columbia in October will be a part of Fanfare.

“Since Fanfare was the Columbia’s anchor festival when the theatre reopened in 2002, we feel that all of our programming in October is a part of the Fanfare festival,” said Winter. “The only exceptions would be private events.”

In order to adhere to social distancing measures, the theatre will be functioning at a limited occupancy.

“We are awaiting a final number from the fire marshal and safety director, but we have received confirmation that under phase 3, we can resume live performances with proper social distancing and safety protocols in place,” explained Winter. “We will have limited capacity, and anyone entering the venue will be required to wear a mask and social distance.”

One of the on-campus Fanfare events will be the Dance Performance Project’s “Voices of the Planet: 2020” on Oct. 7-9. Under the artistic direction of Keith Costa, the show will feature students from the dance program.

Brooke Harris, a senior general studies and nursing major, is a member of the Dance Performance Project. Harris has performed in three dance concerts as a part of Fanfare. She shared why she believes celebrations like Fanfare are important.

“It is important to celebrate the arts because they bring people from all different backgrounds, ages, cultures, etc. together,” said Harris. “The arts bring beauty into the world. They share things that are not easily expressed in words. They bring awareness to causes.”

Harris has been involved with the university’s dance program for several years. She commented on the atmosphere surrounding the university’s artistic scene.

“Southeastern’s artistic scene is professional and engaging,” shared Harris. “It promotes individuality, creativity and growth. I am very involved in the contemporary dance program here at SELU. I have previously participated in five concerts and choreographed in one. This semester I am performing 10 works and have choreographed two.”

While two of the Columbia’s shows, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Murder on the Marquee,” will likely not have to be changed due to their format, the theatre is working on a backup plan in case any of the shows have to be rescheduled.

“The backup plans for the other shows is simple: reschedule them for later in the season as long as our guest artists can do so,” said Winter.

Winter explained why recording a live performance is not a desirable alternative to a postponed event.

“Streaming or even live streaming a live theatre event is a weak substitute at best,” commented Winter. “The very nature of theatre requires the live experience. It becomes something else the moment you film it and stream it. Anyway, our goal is to present our season to a live audience, even if that means rescheduling things. If the pandemic worsens and we cannot do that, we’ll explore other options for how to continue to entertain our community.”

The first Fanfare event at the Columbia Theatre will be “Aliens, Immigrants, & Other Evildoers” on Oct. 3. The Dance Performance Project will perform “Voices of the Planet: 2020” on Oct. 7-9 at the Vonnie Borden Theatre in D Vickers Hall. The complete list of Fanfare events can be found here.