Musicals Live During Pandemic Thanks to Liva Club

    During the fall semester, Liva, a student-run musical theater club at The University of Scranton, is hosting safe, outdoor screenings of musicals and other events in the backyard of a campus house that the club uses as rehearsal space.
    October 26, 2020

    Members of The University of Scranton’s Liva student organization have leveraged their love of musicals – and for one another – to host events that safely bring members together twice each week.

    “We are basically a family that happens to put on a show at the end of the year,” said Bailey McLaughlin, president of the student-run musical theater club, now celebrating its 30th anniversary year at Scranton. Amid the club’s pandemic-imposed separation, McLaughlin knew its members wanted to get together. They are, however, from different majors and live in scattered locations throughout the campus so it was difficult to see one another face-to-face in courses, labs or residence halls. Of course, Zoom meetings were an option, but she and her club officers wanted to come-up with a more personal way to bring the group to together.

    Liva uses a University house on campus as a space for rehearsals, staging, costumes, prop creation and other items needed for the theatrical club to stage the performance of a musical each semester. This gave McLaughlin and her colleagues an idea. Although the club could not present a musical this semester and could not gather indoors, they did have access to house’s large backyard.

    The club set-up a screen, projector and speaker in the backyard of the house and began to show musicals weekly on Wednesday evenings. To keep members properly socially distanced, each participant was provided with a six-foot diameter towel to use as a visual cue for the social distancing grid set-up on the spacious lawn. Arrival and departure times of participants were staggered. Masks were also required for all those in attendance.

    The movies proved so popular, that a more interactive second event was added on Friday evenings. Friday night events have included musical theater jeopardy and a painting night.

    “Everyone in Liva is very close. We really missed each other,” said McLaughlin, “This has been a crazy semester. We wanted to find a way around the obstacles to give the members a way to get together in a safe manner.”

    In addition to McLaughlin, a senior occupational therapy major from Allentown, New Jersey, other student officers for the Liva Club are: Alaina Ciorra, vice president, a senior psychology major from Merrick, New York; Amanda Lamphere, secretary, a sophomore mathematics major form from Sellersville; Christopher Draina, treasurer, a senior biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major from Hanover Township; and Joelle Cote, business manager, a junior occupational therapy major from Shelton, Connecticut. Rev. Ron McKinney, S.J., professor of philosophy, serves as the club’s moderator.

    For more information about Liva, contact the student officers or the club moderator.

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