Perhaps you were lucky enough to catch RENT! in Hilary 2019, the very first musical by the St Catz theatre society. Well, the cast is back, this time through the new endeavour Raise Your Voice Theater Collective, a virtual musical theater fundraiser in support of Color of Change and UK Black Pride.
I talk to the production team about why they chose to support these particular charities:
“In light of events that have continued to shine light on the racial inequity that pervades society, we wanted to support both a UK and US-based charity that champion diverse voices and work to combat social injustice. For our inaugural event, we chose UK Black Pride as our UK-based charity as it is the largest LGBTQ celebration in Europe that specifically provides a platform to uplift diverse voices found within the LGBTQ community. Not only does this celebration cultivate a safe and inclusive space for communities of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American descent, but UK Black Pride is continuing to expand its footprint through advocacy and community outreach efforts.
We chose Color of Change as our US-based charity because it is the largest online racial justice organization in the United States. It employs an integrative approach to building campaigns that are devoted to tackling the interconnected web of social issues that disproportionately plague Black communities. We hope that Raise Your Voice Theater Collective will continue to grow as we encourage more Oxford students to join us and include a broader palate of artistic expression in future events (virtual and hopefully in person once it is safe to do so). We envision that each event would be devoted to a new UK and US-based charity combination whose initiatives are essential to promoting a safe and equitable society.”
The aim, as host Peter Todd puts it, is “to raise money and spread some theatrical joy all at the same time”.
Much as the preview (clip below) does seem to deliver on the theatrical joy front, I ask director Alex Waldman about the challenges of rehearsing the singing event entirely online.
“I would say the funniest part of online rehearsals was trying to navigate the use of Microsoft Teams. I wouldn’t call it intuitive nor would I say that I have a strong relationship with technology.”
The song list that will be performed are varied, including solos, duets, and group numbers and include No One is Alone and Agony (Into the Woods), You Will be Found (Dear Evan Hansen) and, of course Seasons of Love form RENT! As Alex says, “Raise Your Voice Theater Collective arose from the St. Catz Drama Society production of RENT!, we wanted to pay homage to that formative experience by ending our inaugural event, aptly entitled “Measure in Love,” with Seasons of Love.”
The inaugural event will take place September 5th (3:00pm EST/8:00pm UK), to join in with what promises to be a fun evening, find the Facebook event here.