American Artscape Notable Quotable: Honolulu Youth Theatre

By Paulette Beete
“In a way this whole thing has knocked us sideways, but what we found is it also knocked us into the arms of some really exciting collaborators and processes and new ways of thinking about our art that we wouldn’t have gotten had this opportunity not come around.” -- Eric Johnson

Image: The Carp Who Would Not Quit by Reiko Ho and the HTY Ensemble retells traditional fables from Japan and Okinawa. (From l-r) Serina Dunham, Maki'ilei Ishihara, and Junior Tesoro. Image courtesy of Honolulu Theatre for Youth

In a normal season, [Honolulu Theatre for Youth] typically produces seven shows and tours one or two productions to neighboring islands. Between its productions, in-school residencies, and youth theater classes, the company reaches approximately 100,000 teachers, students, and families every year.

But restrictions on in-person gatherings and the closure of Honolulu’s schools required all of the theater’s staff to improvise and adapt quickly to changing circumstances, swapping live audiences and classrooms for their iPhones and living rooms. The theater began creating online education resources and conducting virtual classroom visits, allowing young people to continue experiencing the benefits of theater from their homes. In addition, HTY launched production of a 30-minute children’s television series, The HI Way, which airs weekly on Hawai'i News Now stations. The first episode premiered on March 31, just two weeks after the initial shutdown in Hawai’i. 

In the new issue of American Artscape, learn how the Honolulu Theatre for Youth found new ways to keep producing work during the pandemic in order to provide comfort and respite to their community family during the ongoing crisis. MORE.