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There's virtual fun for virtually everyone

Area organizations getting innovative with online options for entertainment

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  • | 9:23 p.m. March 30, 2020
  • Arts + Culture
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If there’s a lucky break to the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s that it’s happened now instead of 30, even 20 years ago, before the explosion of devices to help us stay connected with the world.

Understanding their role in the community’s quality of life, arts and entertainment venues have been turning their creative juices to finding ways to continue to reach the public, even as life is increasingly lived behind closed doors.

The following is an ongoing list of arts and entertainment venues and organizations offering online options.


Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe puts show online

The musical “Your Arms too Short to Box with God” was in the middle of its run when Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe was forced to shut down in mid-March. Now, WBTT has resurrected the gospel musical, with the launch of a new streaming platform, “WBTT Live!”

The platform will feature videos of popular WBTT performances, messages from favorite troupe members, and special events.

The platform, which can be found at, is currently offering patrons the opportunity to watch a full performance of “Your Arms Too Short to Box with God,” recorded by local videographer Bill Wagy in early March. The cost is $15 per viewing. Theatergoers who had unused tickets for the show and donated the price of the tickets back to the theater can watch for free.

The video will be available through April 19 or until there are 4,200 views, whichever comes first.


Tour The Ringling from home

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art has set up a series of online programs that will allow visitors to engage with most aspects of the museum during its closure. Visitors can view The Ringling’s collections through a virtual museum; Educators, parents and children can participate in learning and artmaking activities; nature lovers can enjoy the beauty of The Ringling’s gardens, all online.

Tour the Ringling’s vast collections of over 28,000 objects, including artwork, furnishings, objects, circus posters, photographs and more online via the E-Museum at

Walls closing in on you? The Ringling’s 66 acres of grounds and gardens are certified a Level II arboretum. Every Friday new video grounds tours can be visited on The Ringling’s Instagram platform. Plans are in the works for additional tours and video classes presented by the horticulture staff.

Meanwhile, the museum’s education staff has created Learn from Home with The Ringling. Visit to find artmaking projects families can do at home, lesson plans for teachers, and other activities for students to learn from home with The Ringling.

Parents are encouraged to join The Ringling’s Family Programs Facebook Group, where they will find fun, educational and creative projects every week.

The popular Ringling Order of Art Readers, or ROAR, a story time and artmaking experience for early learners, has been redesigned as Read Along with The Ringling and can be found at home.


Circus Arts Conservatory rolls out new platform

If there was ever a time to run away and join the circus, this isn’t it. Thankfully, Circus Arts Conservatory has introduced a new platform to help people get their circus fix right at home. CAC Connects will bring performance video, education, training and outreach through the conservatory’s website,, as well as its Facebook and Instagram pages, and on YouTube.

Content includes videos of Circus Sarasota and Sailor Circus Academy performances, along with circus-inspired educational activities and lessons. CAC coaches are developing a schedule of live and prerecorded training sessions to help people stay fit the circus way while they’re cooped up.

CAC says new content will be added continuously to the platform, so keep checking in.


Asolo Rep set up to ‘Engage’ its audience

Asolo Repertory Theatre has launched a new platform called Asolo Rep Engage, designed to provide “direct connection into Asolo Rep’s creative process while also celebrating the art of theatre and all the people who create it.” The platform will be accessible through Asolo Rep’s website,, as well as Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a new Asolo Rep Engage webpage.

Viewers will find content pertaining to past and future works, the artists and administrators connected to the theater, and art activities for at-home creativity. Asolo Rep also intends to offer streaming of selected past productions soon.   


Sing along with Key Chorale

As you might expect, the members of the Key Chorale are firm believers in the power of music to keep spirits lifted. So they are inviting everyone to join them in what they are calling the Come Together Choir online choral rehearsals.

Sign up at Each week, your choice of sheet music or lyrics will be sent to you by email.

Then, at 2 p.m. each Thursday, go online and join in as Key Choral Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins guides eight singers in person (and who knows how many online) though a rehearsal session.

The rehearsals will include warmups and vocal exercises designed to improve breath control and singing. Then, you’ll learn 10 songs from unison to four-parts. The live sessions will be shot in a manner to give the sense of being there. Better, in fact, because the sessions will be available to repeat on the chorale’s YouTube channel.


Make moves with Sarasota Contemporary Dance

We may be quarantined, but that’s no reason to be a wallflower. Have fun, stay in shape and learn a few new moves with SCD Virtual Studio Classes. Five new classes will be live streamed per week in a Sarasota Contemporary Dance private Facebook group, and if you can’t be there when the class is streamed live, each of the classes will be available online for two weeks.

The cost is $30 for two weeks. Simply sign up then sign in. To register and to see more about the classes, go to Classes will continue for as long as it’s recommended or required to stay at home.


‘Into the Breeches!’ is back!

Asolo Repertory Theatre’s production of the  World War II-era comedy “Into the Breeches!” was among the the plays cut down in the prime of its run a few weeks ago.

Well, that play was all about finding a way to get through tough times, and so perhaps its fitting that it is leading the charge back. Asolo has taken the old showbiz saying “The show must go on” and given it a 21st century reboot to “The show must go online.”

From now through April 14 at-home theatergoers can see “Into the Breeches!” through Asolo Rep’s Facebook ( and Instagram ( pages. Tickets start at $15 per person viewing. Patrons who held tickets to canceled performances of “Into the Breeches!” and have donated their tickets back to the theater will be sent an email with a coupon code to view the video free.


Art Center Sarasota: 'Off the Wall' and onto the web

"Off the Wall," a fundraiser exhibition at and for Art Center Sarasota scheduled for March 13, has been renamed "Off the Web." The exhibition features 5-by-7 inch, one-of-a-kind postcards, each featuring original artwork by local artists,  and can be seen at All 197 pieces of postcard artwork are on view, and can be studied individually on screen. The identities of the artist responsible for each postcard is not listed. The postcards can be purchased for $50 each, at which time the purchaser will learn the name of the artist whose work they just bought. 


Sarasota Orchestra's online overture to its audience

While social distancing is the order of the day, Sarasota Orchestra is telling its audience "Don't be a stranger" by setting up a webpage called "Music Moves Us." There, audiences will find a growing collection of videos featuring music and other content as it is created by members of the orchestra. Releases will include messages and music from Artistic Advisor Jeffrey Kahane, musician vignettes and other surprises gems and tidbits. It can all be found at, with updates noted on the orchestra's Facebook and Instagram pages. 

The orchestra also reminds its fans that they can hear recordings of concerts from the past two years at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on WSMR, 89.1 or 103.9 FM. Once a concert is aired, it will be available to listened to on the WSMR website





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