SMTD to host outdoor events from April-June


Noora Neiroukh

The School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD) will host a series of outdoor events from April through June called “OU Outside the Box” performing arts festival.

The School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD) will host a series of outdoor events from April through June called “OU Outside the Box” performing arts festival.

It will run April 5 through June 27, 2021, and it will feature performances by SMTD students, artists-in-residence and faculty. For students in the SMTD, it’s important for them and their learning experience to perform with others.

“We found that it [COVID-19 shutdown] created a big hole in our students’ education in all areas. While they are training to be performers and in the training to perform, the most important part for them to work on in school is to perform together,” Kerro Knox, associate director of SMTD, said.

Due to the success of the previous outdoor performances held by the SMTD and the looser restrictions outdoors, the festival was approved.

“Our students are eager to perform and our audiences are hungry to see anything alive,” he said.

The performances will take place on an 82-foot stage outside between Varner Hall and Elliot Hall.

“It’s [the stage] almost twice as big as our indoor stages so we can separate people,” Knox, said. “Musicians that can, will perform with masks and stay six feet apart. The percussionists and string players, we’ll try to keep them nine to 10 feet apart.”

Performance sizes have been lowered and things on staged will be spaced so the performers stay a safe distance away from each other.

“For instance, the play we’re doing is an upbeat classical slapstick comedy. So somebody slaps somebody, six to nine feet away, and reacts to it – it becomes a part of the audience’s experience of that everyone is staying apart, but still able to relate to each other,” Knox said.

These performances have been in the works for the previous years. This season’s performances include some that were scheduled for last year, but were cancelled due to COVID-19.

“The musical we’re doing was originally supposed to be in November, and we actually cancelled the April musical and moved the musical from November because it was already cast and we began working on it,” he said.

Knox said that if he had to choose a specific theme to give these performances, it’d be the reaction of students to what they had to do.

“There are definitely some [dance performances] that feel like they are commenting on the pandemic and the shutdowns,” he said.

This festival is unlike any other set of productions held by the school.

“Normally, we wouldn’t have some of these performances and they would’ve been stretched out throughout the whole semester,” Knox said.

The festival features a variety of performances from every area of the school.

It includes several performances from different band ensembles and different dances classes like Choreography II, senior dance concert and the Young Choreographer’s Forum — where OU’s dance majors present their work.

Theatre has several events throughout the duration of the festival. All events require advanced ticket purchase/reservation.

For more information, visit the SMTD website. To reserve tickets, click here.