Reopening: Live theater during a pandemic — Some turning to live-stream, others on pause

1984 at 18th and Union (Image: 18th and Union Theater)

When the pandemic shuttered Seattle’s theaters and playhouses in March, the Central District’s 18th & Union was in the middle of an adaption of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.” By the third week of production, it became clear the venue had to close.

“I think we were lucky that we at least got three solid weekends in before closing,” actor K. Brian Neel said. “I know a lot of theater artists who had to close shows right before opening or right towards the end of the rehearsal process and that would’ve been frustrating.”

According to state reopening guidelines, live entertainment falls under Phase 4 — the final stage — and King County has lingered in Phase 2 for over a month now. As cases rise across the county and Washington rolls back phased reopening, theater companies and accompanying venues are tasked with adapting live theater to an online format or staying closed indefinitely.

And for those planning to reopen in some capacity with live actors, performances will look markedly different.

Theaters reopening or not?
18th & Union is planning to live stream shows out of its space this fall with up to two cast members six feet apart. Producing director David Gassner says the venue has multiple shows — yet to be announced — lined up for September, and the studio is setting up with cameras and other necessary equipment.

“There won’t be any stage combat, there won’t be any kissing, there won’t be any touching — so we’re having to choose the kind of shows that we present knowing that those are the constraints,” Gassner said. Continue reading

Construction of $3M Volunteer Park amphitheater project planned for late summer start

Construction is planned to start in August on the project to replace Volunteer Park’s amphitheater.

The Volunteer Park Trust tells CHS the planned August start will allow community groups to use the stage through most of summer. Work was originally being planned to begin this month. “By starting in August, we will be able to maximize use of both the old stage this summer and the new Amphitheater for next season,” a VPT representative said. Continue reading

Bechdel Test Burlesque


When the forces of white heteropatriarchal capitalism try to get you down, Bechdel Test BQ is here to lift you up with a jam-packed, star-studded evening of pop culture critique powered by thrilljoy feminism. This year, we’ve assembled an international, intersectional coalition of nerdy feminists to prove that rebellions are built on hope.

Co-hosted by Sin de la Rosa and Sailor St. Claire, this year’s Bechdel Test BQ features Seattle striptease superheros Onyx Asili, Scarlett O’Hairdye, Ms. Briq House, Mx. Pucks A’Plenty, Siren, Nox Falls, and Crystal Storm teaming up with our nerdy, naked Northern neighbors Diamond Minx, Dezi Desire, Draco Muff-boi, Faye Havoc, and Androsia Wilde for an evening of action-packed intersectional feminism.

Bechdel Test BQ has thrilled sold-out audiences in Seattle and Portland, blown the minds of impressionable college students at the University of Oregon, and will soon be performed in Vancouver, British Columbia.

But before we all move to Canada, make sure you catch the return of Bechdel Test BQ on Saturday, October 26 at 7:30 pm at Re-Bar in Seattle (1114 Howell St). Tickets start at $20 for general admission. VIP tickets, which include a seat in a reserved section closest to the stage, are $35.

Date: Saturday, October 26
Times: 7:30 PM (Doors 7:00)
Cost: $20 General Admission, $35 VIP. Place: Re-Bar (1114 Howell St.)
Accessibility: Re-Bar is wheelchair accessible. The performance will not be ASL interpreted, but the producers will provide a comp ticket to personal interpreters. The show will be presented with closed captions. The venue is not scent free.

ECHOES: A Tribute Concert Benefiting The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway

ECHOES is an evening of stories, performances and remembrances of the lives affected by HIV/AIDS benefitting The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway. The event is hosted by Micki Flowers, former health reporter for KIRO TV and long-time HIV/AIDS advocate. Like the memorial it is ushering in, ECHOES is a celebration of life and collective memories, while also standing as a call to action. It’s the next step in honoring both our past and our future.

Members of the diverse communities affected by the epidemic will be sharing personal stories and recount their experiences. Interspersed between these narratives will be musical and dance performances from outstanding local talent including Alexandria Henderson, Billie Wildrick, Nathan Young & Showtunes Theatre, Justin Huertas, Whim W’Him and The Seattle Men’s Chorus & The Seattle Women’s Chorus. Featuring stories by Bill Hall, DeAunté Damper, Pat Migliore and Steven Parsons.

Throughout the night, the audience will have opportunities to make donations toward this historic memorial. ECHOES will be a night where we can experience our history together, move towards healing and directly contribute to the creation of The AIDS Memorial Pathway.



Lowbrow Opera Collective’s inaugural production will be the West coast premiere of a new opera titled #adulting. The story follows four roommates, recently brought together via craigslist, through their first forays into adulthood. Ruth, Tony, Bucket, and Drew come across a lot of challenges – mainly their own lack of practical life skills. The show is equal parts self deprecating humor and a giant middle finger to anyone who says millennials can’t get shit done. Mostly absurd and just a little raunchy, the opera uses a variety of musical styles to portray vignettes of modern lives, from the joy of a first apartment to the horror of a stubborn, mysterious and icky stain you find on the only couch you could afford.

John Ervin Brooks, music

Natalie Stewart Elder, libretto

Stefan Melnyk, additional music and libretto

Austin Nucklos, additional music and libretto

Katie Kelley, director

Christine Oshiki, assistant director

Kat Henwood, costume and set designer

Becca Pauza, stage manager and props designer

Nic Varela, marketing director for Lowbrow Opera Collective

Dr. William Bryant, accompanist

Sam Peters, rehearsal accompanist


Jared White as Drew, Dan the Van Man

Christine Oshiki as Ruth

Eric Angus Jeffords as Tony

Krissy Terwilliger as Bucket

Nic Varela as Couch, Student Debt Monster, Stain, Postmates, Employer, Customer Support, Judge Judy, Executioner, Ghost Billy Mayes, Prospective Roomie #1

Katie Kelley as Siri, Groceries, Other Alarm Clock, Prospective Roomie #2


80 minutes

Bread Crumbs [MAP’s Night Off with Jasmine Joshua]

Bread Crumbs [MAP’s Night Off with Jasmine Joshua]

18th & Union, an arts space
1406 18th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

Bread Crumbs is a hilarious and poignant autobiographical journey of a 34-year-old parent of twins who came out as nonbinary a year ago and is trying to figure out what the hell that even means. Just 4 performances, between March 11 – 26, written & performed by Jasmine Joshua.

Tickets to all MAP shows are Name-Your-Own-Price.



Monday, March 11 @ 8:00 PM
Monday, March 18 @ 8:00 PM
Monday, March 25 @ 8:00 PM
Tuesday, March 26 @ 8:00 PM


Performing March 8-30, MAP Theatre presents a very human story about a chimpanzee. TREVOR is a MAP-flavored tragicomedy about family, the nature of love, and the lies we tell ourselves to avoid facing sad and terrible truths. At the center of this world are Trevor, an almost-famous chimpanzee, and his owner & “mom” Sandra. Trevor’s getting older and more uncontrollable by the day, but Sandra knows Trevor would never hurt a fly . . . not on purpose, anyway. A painfully funny satire exploring how flawed communication can lead to disaster.

Tickets to all MAP shows are Name-Your-Own-Price.

New medallions mark Capitol Hill Arts District bastions of ‘art, cinema, music, books, theater’

They’re symbols, sure, but you can also think of them as good user interface design. New Capitol Hill Arts District medallions are being installed across the neighborhood to help identify the 40 or so cultural and arts spaces part of the district.

“The medallions are a low-tech complement to the Arts District website, Facebook page, and the dozens of online event calendars,” Michael Seiwerath of Capitol Hill Housing tells CHS about the new additions to the neighborhood streetscape. “On a Saturday night, Pike/Pine can attract more people than Key Arena, so it’s a good marker for the thousands of people who visit the neighborhood each week.” Continue reading

Next arts and culture space to lose its lease: Capitol Hill’s Eclectic Theater

(Image: Alex Garland)

Where do small theatre companies take the stage when their affordable performance spaces can no longer afford the rent? While many actors having long been priced out of the neighborhood, the Capitol Hill theatre community is losing another piece of its charm: affordable rents.

Rik Deskin, the founder of Eclectic Theater, has announced the end of the venue’s 11-year run on 10th Ave at the end of the month.

“We knew that we had a five year lease, and we knew the end was coming. We started exploring the possibility of renewing the lease,” Deskin said. “At the same time, we were having difficulties paying the current rent so we decided to not renew the lease. We heard from some other people who looked into it that he’s expecting $3,500 a month for the space, which is ridiculous in my opinion. With no upgrades, not that I’m aware of.”

“Capitol Hill is the densest area of arts and culture businesses and organizations in the state,” says Tonya Lockyer, executive director at the neighborhood’s globally respected Velocity Dance. “Imagine if you have this incredible natural resource — creative businesses, organizations, and people. When that is threatened, you want to preserve it.” Continue reading