The Majestic Theatre, one of Parks and Rec’s gems at 115 SW 2nd St., had to cancel its usually bustling summer schedule when the COVID-19 pandemic surged through the U.S. Instead of hosting classes and directing performances, the team brainstormed how the theatre could logistically open again in the fall.
“After a scramble to get community theatre programming online to replace our canceled shows, and after canceling all Spring and Summer classes, I worked with our instructors over the summer to plan which classes could be moved online and which classes could be socially distanced,” said Rachel Kohler, the education programs assistant.
The theatre will host its first workshop since the spring: “Introduction to Screenwriting.” While many of the classes offered this fall will be virtual, this class will be held in-person, following strict COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“Many of our instructors were excited to experiment with an online format. Some were nervous because of the technical aspects,” Kohler said. “And none of us know how it will go as far as enrollment goes. We’ve never done this before, most education programs haven’t. All of Parks and Rec is participating in this interesting experiment.”
The workshop, which takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. this Sunday, Sept. 20, is for those 14 and older, including adults, and will focus on the basics of the craft, such as formatting stories in script style. It costs $9 for those in the city and $11 for anyone streaming the class from out of the city. Final day to register will be Friday, September 18.
“Adults and teens. Teens love making movies. I made a lot of films in high school, but my scripts were a mess,” Kohler said. “I wish I’d had a class like this and some adult screenwriters to look up to.”
“The idea is for this to lead into a longer, multi-session scriptwriting class slated for October that will help people workshop their scripts in more detail,” Kohler said.
Seasoned member of the Corvallis screenwriting scene Doug Nelson will teach Sunday’s workshop. He has devoted years to the art of film and is actively involved in the Corvallis Film Club. Nelson has served as the longest-running volunteer for the Corvallis Access Media, which rents film equipment and produces content for the city’s public access channel.
This workshop is just one of many educational events the Majestic Theatre will host this season, including a puppet workshop and an afterschool acting for the camera program.
“The experience of engaging with the arts is an incredibly powerful experience for kids and teens,” Kohler said. “Creating things gives young people agency and helps them express themselves in new ways. It teaches collaboration skills, goal management, and flexible thinking.”
Register for the workshop on the Majestic Theatre’s website.
By Jessica Goddard