In move online, Queen’s Players raises nearly $7,000

Digital platform increases comedy troupe’s audience

Queen’s Players adapt end-of -year show for the internet.
Credit: 
Screenshot from Youtube
After cancelling their winter show due to COVID-19, Queen’s Players moved online to a bigger audience, raising a record amount for charity.
 
In an interview with The Journal, Director Ryan Cormack described Queen’s Players as “one of Queen’s hidden gems.” It’s a student-run organization that performs skits, dance numbers, and pop-culture parodies throughout the school year at The Mansion, a local Kingston bar. Proceeds from ticket sales go to charity. 
 
Last March, the Queen’s Players’ cast and crew were told the day before opening night they would have to cancel their end-of-year performance. 
 
Cormack knew that “it was not the experience that anybody deserved,” and he was determined to come up with a fun and safe solution to adjust to the pandemic. He proposed using Zoom, an online video chat platform, to perform the show live over the internet. 
 
Paul Smith, president of the Queen’s Players Board, said that for some of the cast it would be their last show, and for others it would be their first, but he didn’t want the cancellation be the end to all their hard work. 
 
“The amount of work is crazy.” Smith told The Journal. “Cast members are pulling eighteen hours of rehearsals on top of their classes.”
 
A major reason why the club wanted to move their show to an online platform was because of how hard everybody worked to make it a success. 
 
People like cast member Harry Meddings, who had auditioned three times before finally being cast in the show, expanded on the tremendous amount of work that goes into developing a Queen’s Players show. He explained there are three main components of putting a show together: vocals, choreography, and the script itself.
 
“The script is written by the cast, and all of the music is compiled by a band,” Meddings told The Journal.  
 
 
No one wanted this effort to go unseen, so the team worked to adapt their show to Zoom, an entirely new medium for Queen’s Players. They had to go over the script and change anything that wouldn’t work in a Zoom setting, as well as record themselves dancing and singing in sync and address any technical challenges that could take place. 
 
Nathan Ye, the team’s technical director, had to develop a show that was “never meant for Zoom,” according to Cormack.  
 
In adapting the show for Zoom, Cormack’s biggest focus was, “how do we make it as much of a Queen’s Players show as possible?” 
 
He wanted to maintain the traditions of the end-of-year show despite the drastic difference between the Zoom platform and the in-person venue of The Mansion. 
 
“How do we get the audience to buy the cast drinks, raise money, and incorporate choreography with twelve people not in the same room?” Cormack said. 
 
While this presented some challenges, Cormack said Zoom provided Queen’s Players with unexpected benefits, including a larger audience. 
 
“In The Mansion, you can fit 120 people, and we had 400 people watching the stream one night, including alumni watching. They were able to watch the show from the comfort of their own homes,” Cormack said.  “We came up with a Zoom show to bring the cast and our show to people not only in Kingston, but around the world.”
 
Initially, Cormack hoped they could raise $100 in donations each night for eight shows—the length they usually run at The Mansion—but they happily surpassed that goal, managing to raise just shy of $6,700 in only two shows using Zoom and YouTube Livestream. 
 
The money will go to Black Lives Matter and various Kingston charities, which the Board will vote on at the end of the year. 
 
“[Queen’s Players] set the standard for doing Zoom shows at Queen’s, and I’m excited to see what the future of it looks like,” Meddings said.
 

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