GREENSBURG – The 2020-21 season marks 50 years that Tree County Players have been entertaining local audiences with light-hearted comedies, brow-furrowing dramas and toe-tapping musicals.

Fifty years could never have prepared the group for the need to engage their audience remotely in a world of social distancing and Zoom conferencing, but TCP’s board of directors met recently to do just that.

“I want to say at the outset the safety of our patrons is utmost in our mind as we move forward,” said TCP Board President Cathy Lincourt. “We don’t know how this is going to work out, the governor could change his orders in a moment’s notice. So for right now, we’ll be offering some alternative programming for the fall and probably not be meeting in the building as such with an audience until the first of 2021.”

Lincourt said the considerations needed for total patron safety – facility cleaning, audience social distancing, and the many other issues related to a large audience gathered in a relatively small space – make staging live plays nearly impossible.

“We are considering perhaps an outdoor event at the amphitheatet in Rebekah Park,” Lincourt said.

The staged reading of “Ordinary People” planned for early spring 2020 is still on the books, and that’s possible at an outdoor venue, Lincourt said.

The thespian troupe is also considering webcasts featuring “Back to Theater Basics” classes on Zoom and YouTube that would cover things like make-up, costuming, acting – the “how-to” classes of basics theater.

“We’ve also talked briefly about children’s functions online, and because it is our 50th year of programming we’re even thinking of doing retrospectives of TCP shows,” Lincourt said. “There could be be filmed clips, interviews and possibly live streaming of recorded music from our musicals, not an awards show, but a celebration of all things Tree County Players that members, past show casts and crews would enjoy. We want to stay in touch with our patrons and let them know we are still here!”

Proposal packets will be mailed soon, and Lincourt said that she and the board are open to ideas from the public.

“If someone has any ideas of things that might be appropriate or entertaining, we are open to their suggestions,” Lincourt said.

Lincourt stressed that nothing is written in stone, but the group is exploring new ideas.

“We’ve been quiet since the last show because it’s been a struggle to decided how to move forward,” she said, “but the one thing that is clear is that small theaters in Indiana have been meeting by Zoom and by social media, and there are good things coming out of it for local audiences. People should stay tuned!”

Next season proposal packets are available online at TCP’s website, and the Tree County Players Board of Directors can be contacted with ideas at www.treecountyplayers.com or by calling 812-222-4766.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com

Recommended for you