After months of zoom meetings, virtual performances, and online connections, people are craving something different, something in-person. Yet, enjoying live performances responsibly is a challenge that up until now has been difficult to solve, especially in regards to public health and safety.
But this Friday and Saturday, August 14th and 15th, MAGMA of Gloucester presents two nights of immersive performance including dance, collaborative art-making, and film screenings with Constellations: An Evening of Wonder and Beauty Under the Stars in Gloucester Harbor.
This unique event will be an interdisciplinary experience where attendees, along with a group of no more than 20 socially distanced individuals, will travel through the sprawling outdoor venue to enjoy three distinctive performances at three parts of the harbor.
Participating artists include Boston Dance Theater, Casey Buckles, Andy Bergman, Lisa Bouchie, Jon Holland, and special guests.
The event will be in accordance with the Baker Administration’s new restrictions around outdoor gathering spaces. There will also be a live-stream Zoom option for those who can’t attend in person.
MAGMA director Sarah Slifer Swift was inspired to create and produce Constellations after hearing about innovative social distance performances happening all over the world.
“One of these ‘Drive-in performances’ included a dance performance happening in the center of a ring of cars, their headlights pointed into the center of space, creating the lighting for the performers,” Swift said. “I was really enamored with these kinds of ideas.”
One of the challenges of bringing this creative outdoor event to Gloucester, apart from the fact that it hadn’t yet been done before during COVID, was location and logistics.
“It was a puzzle figuring out how we could still bring a sense of wonder and fun and creativity [to the performances] with these unusual parameters,” she said.
Interestingly, with the cancellation of the popular Gloucester Schooner Festival, there were a few key people – among them the filmmaker Casey Buckles and Maritime Gloucester’s Executive Director Michael DeKoster – willing to lend a hand to produce this performance and solve some of these challenges.
“I had these artistic concepts and [Michael] came in and was able to really think about how to make it viable and safe in strict adherence to all the recommendations,” she said.
“I’m just so thrilled to be bringing live performance to Gloucester Harbor. I think it’s going to be really awesome,” Swift added.
Please join MAGMA and participating artists for Constellations this coming weekend. There are two performances, one on Friday and one on Saturday, at 8:30 each evening.
This program was funded in part by the Gloucester Cultural Council.