features

The State of Clubs During COVID: An Interview with ACT Chair Sam Sweet ‘21

Bridget Flaherty ‘21

Features Editor

Clubs on campus have faced unprecedented challenges this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I interviewed Sam Sweet ‘21, the chair of Alternate College Theatre, to see how ACT has adapted to the new normal. 

What has been the biggest obstacle to adapting club meetings/activities to this new semi-remote environment?

By the far the hardest part has been all of the questions. It is very exciting to be back and I am very grateful, but with that has come a ton of uncertainty about what the rules are. I have spent a ton of time with the director of the spring musical talking with OSI and the theatre department, trying to figure out what we can and cannot do with all of the safety and space restrictions.

Have you had any in-person meetings or activities, or have you maintained a remote environment? 

We just had our first in person rehearsals last night, which was incredibly exciting after almost a year of zoom rehearsals. … I am incredibly grateful for the faculty and staff who have helped us find ways to rehearse safely. But mostly our rehearsals and meetings have stayed online, which has forced some serious adjustments and introductions to new software so that students could have backing tracks in sync with their singing. 

How have you managed to continue to foster a sense of community during this strange semester?

It has definitely been really hard. We had some fun trivia nights over the summer which really helped us to connect. We also have managed to rehearse and put together two shows this year. I think seeing the final product of our fall show gave us a really great reminder that we are all still working and trying to create!

Graphic by Hui Li ’21. Photo Courtesy of Sam Sweet ’21.

How has ACT adjusted to producing and performing theater during this time?

Last semester we pulled together a completely virtual production of Allan Miller’s The Fox. This semester we are putting together The Theory of Relativity, a musical by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, which has presented its own set of challenges. Now not only do we need students to be able to talk to each other despite being virtual, but they also have to be able to sing together … [Our editing teams] have stepped up and learned an enormous amount of information in order to be able to put together full length productions. They have truly been amazing!

What projects or activities have you found most exciting or innovative for the club? 

We are working on a musical right now that has been a really satisfying end to my time doing theatre at Holy Cross. In the fall we spent so much time putting out fires, but we learned a lot from that process and although we are still putting out an extraordinary number of fires, we definitely were much more prepared this time. It has definitely been bittersweet, and an incredible amount of work, but it is a great group of students and it has been really fun and inspiring to see them all adjust to all of the new challenges put in front of them!

Are there any future events you want our readers to know about? 

Theory of Relativity is scheduled to be released April 15th. It is an awesome little show about how people connect, and feels really important during all of this! It’s a great reminder of how much we matter to each other!

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