Ever since I was young, I have always enjoyed going to the theater and getting lost in musical productions and plays. Whether it was the drop of the curtain or the suspense leaving me on the edge of my seat, live productions have always had a place, not just in my life but also in the lives of many residents and artists here in the city of Santa Clarita. The MAIN theater in Newhall has been a local performing arts venue for more than 20 years, where actors, artists and directors alike could come to create new universes and tell new stories.
When the pandemic began, this local venue shut its doors, as did many other playhouses throughout the nation. But what could have been seen as a curtain call was actually just the beginning of a new, virtual way to enjoy live theater. Moving quickly, our staff created a variety of different series, each focusing on a different perspective of art. As a city, we want to promote, support and develop arts and entertainment programming, and this was one of the many ways we were able to give artists a platform during a very difficult time.
‘SOS — Stage on Screen Theatre Fest’
During the pandemic, The MAIN never skipped a beat when providing a stage for artists not just in our valley but also across the world. Throughout this past year, we have had the opportunity to watch “SOS — Stage on Screen Theatre Fest,” a free, online series that highlights an individual theater production and their play each week. This month, we will be launching “SOS Theatre Fest IV.” This eight-week series will be themed “current zeitgeist,” which refers to the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history. Partnering with this series is the weekly show “MAINcast.” This show takes you behind the scenes by talking with the directors, actors and production crew of that week’s featured play.
For those of you who like to venture into the kitchen like I do, you can watch the MAIN’s virtual cooking show, Food Sessions. This series combines community, food knowledge and entertainment all in one. Watch as chef Todd Wilson, CEO of feedSCV; chef Tamra Levine, director of catering for Salt Creek Grille; and chef Alexis Shahin, former pastry chef, each cook a delicious recipe, step-by-step for viewers. If you want to test your cooking skills or learn a new recipe, watch Food Sessions every fourth Thursday of the month on The MAIN’s Facebook page or the city’s YouTube page.
New Heights Artist Development Series
Another way we were able to connect artists to one another was through the New Heights Artist Development Series. This monthly series brings together a panel of artists for workshops, open discussions and to help engage and educate viewers. Each panelist discusses various actions, strategies, tools and tricks that they used in their careers to help others. By giving a platform to these artists, we gave a space where creativity could continue through a time of isolation.
If you aren’t an artist, but you are in need of a fun night filled with laughter, music, magic and more, then look no further than the MAIN’s “10 by 10 Variety Night!” This free, monthly series gives 10 selected entertainers a chance to take the virtual stage for a 10-minute performance. Sit back, relax and enjoy!
As we look forward to a more normal future where we can go to live productions, please continue supporting our artists and enjoying the virtual work they do at The MAIN. If you want to enjoy any of these shows or maybe even audition to be in one of them, please visit atthemain.org or visit The MAIN’s Facebook page.
Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].