Hilo Community Players Fundraising to Support Big Island Arts

July 20, 2020, 11:15 AM HST (Updated September 8, 2020, 3:22 PM)
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Arts productions on the Big Island have suffered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as public health guidance advises people to avoid large, indoor gatherings and practice distancing in all social situations.

The Hilo Community Players (HCP) is Hawai‘i Island’s oldest theatre company. Working with youth, teens, and adults, HCP has been presenting amateur and professional theatre since 1938. But the recent challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have created many question marks for the future of performing arts in East Hawai‘i.

According to an HCP press release, current challenges for the group include the uncertainty of venues reopening, implementing safety precautions and best practices for performing artists and crew members, as well as creating an environment where audience members feel safe and comfortable.

The summer of 2020 will mark the 43rd year of the Players’ free Shakespeare in the Park Festival program. This free performance typically reaches nearly 1,000 patrons every summer, the release said.

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To carry on the tradition of Shakespeare in the Park in Hilo, HCP has decided to go forward with plans to produce “Othello” this summer, with some slight modifications. With creativity and the use of mixed-media, HCP will create a new type of live theatre event to keep the cast, crew, and audience all safe and distanced from one another.

Alas, HCP presents Shakespeare in the Park – Ing Lot, a free, live, drive-in theatrical event at Afook-Chin Civic Auditorium Parking Lot. The Players also be presenting their annual Kidshakes adaptation, this year entitled “Oh, Hello!” in a new integrative web format.

Making the necessary changes to preserve the theatre will take fundraising efforts. The Hilo Community Players are looking to raise $8,000 to bring this live multimedia theatre arts experience to familiar and new audiences.

Through the PayPal Giving Fund, HCP is looking to raise funds to purchase microphones, speakers, projectors, and various other technical equipment to make this new kind of theatre possible.

Those interested in giving will help produce online and alternative programming, rehearsals, and performances that can help foster a sense of community and normalcy through the arts. HCP is an entirely volunteer organization operating on member contributions and grant funding, and is asking for help from the Big Island community.

To help HCP reach its goal of $8,000 by Aug. 30, go online or email [email protected]. For more information on how and when to enjoy Hilo Community Players Summer programming, visit hiloplayers.org.

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