Courtesy of PMA

May 8, 2020

Festival 24.0: Zoom Edition

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In the spirit of making the most of our virtual college experience, Festival 24, the Performing and Media Arts Department’s student run theater festival, is making an online comeback under the new title Festival 24.0. While the Festival is normally held at the beginning of the semester, students are performing the culmination of this 24-hour theater experience via Zoom on May 9 at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

During the 24 hours after 8 p.m. EDT tonight, students write the plays and directors begin rehearsals until the time of performance. “The virtual setting of Festival 24.0 presents the actors and directors with an exciting challenge,” says Bryan Hagelin ’20, a director in the festival.

Reshaping the festival in the online context has come with many benefits and challenges, such as dealing with time-zone disparities. Producers Milo Reynolds-Dominguez ’20 and Arin Sheehan ’22 spoke to the Sun, excited to see how the directors will exploit the medium of Zoom and create under the limitation of an online platform. Reynolds-Dominguez and Sheehan expressed that while some aspects of traditional performance might not translate well online, such as choreographed dance, writers and directors will have the chance to create in a way that they could not have before. Sheehan asserted that “some of the best art comes out of limitations.” Festival 24.0 will prove to be an exciting platform for students who have missed out on their theater experiences this semester.

“We truly believe that this event will help bring students together, especially those who are scattered around the world right now,” wrote Sheehan in a press release email. The producers hope that the event will bring the PMA community together, especially as the show provides an opportunity for seniors to write, direct or perform one last time before graduating.

Festival 24’s move online is a perfect way to take advantage of the digital platform that we now find ourselves on. It is reflective of similar trends we have seen toward moving theater and other forms of entertainment online so live audiences can enjoy it, such as Cornell’s Virtual Music Festival and Ithaca’s Hangar and Kitchen theater’s live events. Hosting a familiar Cornell event such as Festival 24 online spotlights the Cornell theater scene and unites students in as best of a way as is possible. For now, we must adapt to this new online normal and attempt, through events such as Festival 24.0, to make up for our lost college experience.


Emma Leynse is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected]. Emma Plowe is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She currently serves as Arts Editor on The Sun’s board. She can be reached at [email protected].