Epic Theatre Company announces after six months of curating a rotation of digital programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its social media engagement numbers have shattered new records and its content has reached over five million people across Rhode Island and all over the world.
Digital programming has included “Fill in the Blanck” with Aaron Blanck, which raised over $15,000 for organizations like the Rhode Island Solidarity Fund, Planned Parenthood, and Youth Pride, Inc. as well as a book club that is facilitated by New York Times bestselling author and Providence resident Ann Hood.
With the digital platform, Epic Theatre Company has witnessed a substantial increase in online engagement, with the past month alone bringing in a reach of over 5 million, and interactions on Facebook topping half a million.
Additionally, Epic Theatre Company was also the first arts organization in Rhode Island to announce an action plan to become an anti-racist company, with one of its initiatives to instate its first playwright-in-residence, who will be Black or a person of color.
“Like many people, we were devastated when we had to leave in-person theatre,” said Epic Theatre Company Artistic Director Kevin Broccoli, “but as a smaller organization, we know how to adjust to unforeseen circumstances, and that meant taking our work to the digital sphere. That’s a place where we were already very comfortable as one of the first theaters in the state to embrace social media and use it to reach audiences in new and innovative ways. What we never could have anticipated was the immeasurable value in embracing these platforms and how our artists would use it to showcase one-of-a-kind creativity and ingenuity.”
The pandemic cut short Epic’s eighth season, which featured acclaimed productions of Anna Deavere Smith’s “Fires in the Mirror” and Jen Silverman’s “The Moors,” new looks at classics like “Suddenly Last Summer” and “Agnes of God,” as well as a Halloween special from local actor, and co-host of the 2019 Motif Magazine Theatre Awards, Aaron Blanck, who then went on to create “Fill in the Blanck” for Epic’s Facebook audience.
Other digital programming has included the “Epic Book Club” with book selections by New York Times bestselling author Ann Hood, the Epic Writers Club, which features a weekly writing competition for budding playwrights, “The Drag” a highly-rated digital talk show with Broccoli and special guests from all over the country, “Midnight Monologues,” and the most diverse slate of artists in the state, bringing new daily content to Facebook, Instagram, and Patreon, where Epic’s supporters can donate to the company monthly to help them continue to produce their work.
“When we first shut down, I really thought this might be the end of theatre as we knew it,” Broccoli said. “But now I can see that there’s an appetite for the special kind of communal gathering that theater creates that's never going to go away. I’m happy to be at the forefront of digital programming in Rhode Island.”
For more information on Epic’s digital programming, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, visit their website at www.epictheatreri.org, or find them on social media on all channels with the screenname EpicTheatreCo.
Since 2011, Epic Theatre Company has been producing work that is bold, innovative, and features voices of seasoned and new playwrights alike. It is the Resident Theatre Company of Artists’ Exchange in Cranston.