Troika Bermuda is ready to get back on the stage
Troika Bermuda is back and preparing for the stage.
The pandemic put the performing arts group on pause. This summer it’s offering a series of workshops ahead of a huge production next year.
Its last was in 2019. Work in Progress #7 celebrated Troika’s tenth anniversary with a walk down memory lane.
The group is grateful it had the chance. Six months later, the world changed.
“I think everybody is aware of where we were at because of the pandemic,” said Seldon Woolridge who, with Shoa Wolfe and a supportive committee, has led Troika since 2009. “People [have said] how much they miss it; they’re wondering what our next show is going to be and hoping that things will be able to get back to normal so that we can back in the theatre and they can see shows.”
Under normal circumstances 2021 would have seen another one of Troika’s grand productions. Bermuda Glee was a popular summer intensive; Once On This Island, an adaptation of the Broadway musical The Little Mermaid, and The Color Purple were both huge audience hits.
“Typically we do our big shows every other year so 2020 was not going to be a big production year for us however we would have facilitated much of our workshops that we tend to do on our off years. Instead we spent that time, like everyone else, catching ourselves and dealing with the pandemic and just trying to figure out ways in which we could try and bounce back,” Mr Woolridge said.
Aside from all the responsibilities that come with organising a public event in the midst of a pandemic, there is added stress as “things change so rapidly”.
Throughout it all however, Troika kept its eye on its mission of creating a sustainable programme for young people who are interested in the arts.
“With the pandemic, the arts community has been drastically impacted by the lack of live performances, the lack of outlets where people are able to see live performing arts or engage in them. The absence has created such a void for many of our participants and our community,” Mr Woolridge said.
“We want to ensure that our programming is back up to fill that void. The arts are so important when it comes to uplifting people’s spirits – especially during times like these. It is very important for us to make sure that our programming is continued, especially for young people who have been uprooted so much through this experience. The arts are so important to so many of them – to their personal development, creative expression and just having an outlet.”
It’s with that in mind that Troika decided to host in-person and virtual training programmes this year. An added benefit of the workshops is that they can help get people ready for auditions for the next big show, in August 2022.
“This is helpful because when we do launch our full auditions for our next big production it will be with the expectation that persons would have had exposure to some audition techniques and tips,” Mr Woolridge said.
“The international instructors’ classes will be done virtually given the Covid regulations and border controls. To be honest, doing it virtually provides greater opportunity for participants. In the past we’ve run into difficulties [organising instructors from overseas] because they would have to fly into the island and be here for a certain amount of time. This way they are able to be home, do a workshop for 90 minutes and still be able to go on and do their day to day responsibilities.”
Aside from anything else the classes are a reminder to the Troika community that “we’re still here, we’re still active”.
“We took a break because of Covid like everybody else did but we understand how important it is that we do our mission, that we’re still active because of how important the arts is and will be during times like this.
“We just wanted to make sure that we were managing through the pandemic and also being sensitive to what many people were going through at the time.”
Even with the best intent, Troika would not have been able to move forward without the support it has received from The Centennial Bermuda Foundation, The Chubb Foundation, One Communications and The Liberty Group, Mr Woolridge said.
“To have sponsors who have remained committed to our programming has been vital to us being able to put on the upcoming programming. So many charities or youth organisations have had their funding cut as a result of the impact of Covid and we’re just thankful for that support that we have been provided by our corporate sponsors. Our aim is to make our programming accessible and in order to do that we really need that support, the funding.”
Troika Bermuda has a raft of activities available for people interested in performing arts classes this summer:
1. The Groove Dance Workshop Series
2. An audition workshop with the Good Acting Studio of Atlanta, Georgia
3. Ascend: Take Centre Stage Youth Talent Competition & Intensive Programme
4. FYE: Young Choreographers’ Showcase
5. The Freddie Hendricks Workshop Experience
Follow @troikabda on Instagram for details, dates and times of workshops or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org