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Alliance Theatre adjusts to pandemic with unique drive-in production, changes to operation

The Alliance Theatre, known for innovation and adaptability, used virtual technology and drive-in presentations to keep up its momentum during the pandemic.

ATLANTA — Atlanta's live theatre is legendary, but with the onset of the pandemic, stages closed down.

Among them, Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. However, it wasn’t long before they were back in action. It's changing how they're operating moving forward.

When the Alliance Theatre shut down last March, Artistic Director Susan Booth and her team went right to work to be sure the performance stage did not go dark.

“Shame on us if we do not take the lessons of this past year forward because the world has changed. Through streaming platform we've figured out how to be far more accessible to many more people,” Booth said.

The Alliance created an animated short for children and distributed it through Atlanta Public Schools. And, and it turned "A Christmas Carol" into a unique drive-in production in a parking lot.

Credit: WXIA

RELATED: Atlanta Opera finds ways to perform during pandemic by using plexiglass dividers, other COVID precautions

Sticking to strict CDC COVID-19 guidelines, The Alliance placed its actors in individual compartments on stage and piped in the sound through cell phones as the audience sat in their vehicles.

“We were one of only six theatres in the entire country that was approved for live performances in 2020,” Booth added.

But, this push for creativity and revenue came at a price.

“We are $6 million smaller than a year ago and that shows up in people's livelihoods and that shows up in the extraordinary tough decisions to furlough some of our employees and to ask people to take compensation cuts.” Booth said.

The Alliance hopes to be back on its live stage at the Woodruff Arts Center this fall, but coming up next month will be live tent performances outside the Woodruff, and a continuing strong presence in digital programming, which includes video presentations for students in the Atlanta Public Schools.

You can watch the full interview with Alliance Theatre Artistic Director Susan Booth below.