In line with venues that have amassed the resources to grow in the digital space, the Irvine Barclay Theater is offering new livestream concerts.
A series of performances filmed in the theater began on March 6 with the Francisco Torres Latin Jazz Quintet. The Bryan Cabrera Trio with Edmund Velasco will follow on March 13, and the Joey Sellers Quintet will follow on March 20.
The free series is sponsored by the Recording Industry Music Performance Trust Fund and the Orange County Musicians Union Local 7. The union selected the musicians featured on the series, many of whom rely on work in nightclubs and restaurants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic on closures.
Musicians are filmed with six cameras in the almost empty place by the in-house team of the theater.
Jerry Mandel, president of the Irvine Barclay Theater, said they formed a team focused on recording to use live-stream, subscription format and promotional video appearances. Mandel calls it a work in progress and plans to make video a major part of the theater.
“We’re still learning how to do that,” said Mandel. “We’ll have regular series by the end of spring or summer. We’re now turning to some of the best musicians in the country to see if they’d want to do something like this. It won’t be something we just did during COVID [pandemic]. ”
The performances are filmed live by the in-house theater team at the Irvine venue.
(Courtesy Irvine Barclay Theater)
The 750-seat venue on the UC Irvine campus typically features music, dance, theater, and lectures. The staff figured out how to perform the audience in new ways over the past year.
“I came to the conclusion about two months after COVID that everything that happens in the future will not be the same as it was before. We cannot just be a building that shows shows,” said Mandel.
Last summer, the theater hosted a live jazz concert series of al fresco dining at Bayside Restaurant in Newport Beach for 11 weeks. In the fall, they partnered with the city to host car concerts in Orange County Great Park with True Willie and the Boys, the Mariachi Divas, and ballet folklore and Bollywood performances.
Further partnerships are in sight. Mandel said they work with various community arts groups. They announced a live event called “Nat Geo Live: Mysterious Seas” on March 31st and a performance on April 3rd in association with the Torrance Cultural Arts Center with Grammy-nominated pianist and composer David Benoit.
The theater with around 15 employees was able to avoid layoffs and vacations. They have received two coronavirus relief loans and financial aid from UC Irvine and the city.
“We’re not doing well financially, but we’re not losing much,” said Mandel. “We’ll come out and open the next year in good shape.”
They also launched a fundraiser last November to protect employees’ jobs. In four months, the campaign exceeded its target and raised more than $ 320,000. You plan to use the additional funds to purchase new equipment.
A space for outdoor shows can be completed by June and serve as a lifeline for dance companies.
The Festival Ballet Theater plays more than 20 shows in the Barclay. In March of last year, dancers had rehearsed for months and created new sets for a sold-out “Swan Lake” that was closed before the opening day due to the pandemic. The group postponed production for the fall, but canceled it again.
The “Swan Lake” of the Festival Ballet Theater was canceled in 2020.
In December, the company planned to open-air production of its annual “The Nutcracker,” their biggest moneymaker, who supports productions later in the season. But it was canceled about a week before opening day when the outdoor activities in California ceased.
Some viewers donated the money they paid for their tickets instead of asking for a refund. The Festival Ballet Theater then held an online auction to pay for the company and the dancers rehearsing for the canceled productions in 2020.
Salwa Rizkalla, founder and artistic director of the Festival Ballet Theater, said only one paid employee works in the office and most of the dancers the company works with have filed for unemployment.
The dance studio is open to limited size classes and individual dancers who need to stay in shape or produce their own video auditions.
Rizkalla expects a good summer. She said she received her COVID-19 vaccination and felt hopeful. As long as they can produce “The Nutcracker” in 2021, the company will stay afloat.
“The love of dance is in their blood,” said Rizkalla. “They’ll keep working in any setting – in the parking lot whenever they can. We all really care about staying alive and keeping classical ballet alive. “
When you watch
What / When: Bryan Cabrera Trio with Edmund Velasco on March 13th at 4pm, Joey Sellers Quintet on March 20th at 4pm
Cost: Free (RSVP required)
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