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Twin Cities Horror Fest, Guthrie’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ move online

Yeah, these two things go together in 2020.

Yeah, these two things go together in 2020. Dan Norman

In the before time, the only common thread between a horror festival and a holiday classic would be that they are both popular events offered on a Twin Cities stage. But post-plague outbreak, these kinds of announcements just go together.

While other major annual productions and theater festivals try to figure out WTF they’re going to do this year, these two enduring events have decided to continue on, virtually.

First, let’s start with the freaks: Now in its ninth year, the Twin Cities Horror Festival has grown exponentially in popularity each season, bringing theater-goers a variety of scares ranging from subtle psychological productions to full-on bloodbaths. 

This year, the show goes on… on YouTube Live.

“Moving the festival online comes with a set of new challenges,” says co-artistic director Nissa Nordland. “With the virtual medium, we constantly evaluate how to make a terrifying experience translate through the screen. How do we scare you from the safety of your own couch?”

You’ll be able to discover how they answered these questions starting on Thursday, October 29, and running through Saturday, October 31, when a total of five new works will premiere over the course of the three evenings. This includes a reading of The Retelling, a work-in-progress musical slated to fully launch at the 2021 festival. 

As for tickets, the event is moving to a pay-as-able model.

“We chose a ‘PWYC’ model to reduce barriers and increase access to our online platform,” says Ryan Lear, executive director at TCHF. “With this model, 80 percent of festival ticket and pass sales will go directly to the producing artists creating this unique work.”

You can throw them a bone and find more details over at tchorrorfestival.com.

When the pandemic hit, the Guthrie announced that it was planning for a three-play season in 2020-21. Since then, its stages have been mostly dark, save for an online benefit this summer. 

But now? A small glimmer of hope: Its annual production, now in its 46th year, of rich-man redemption is returning as a dramatic reading via computer.

Guthrie’s artistic director Joseph Haj will play adapter and creative director, along with film director E.G. Bailey and four Twin Cities actors. The piece will be pre-recorded to stream during the holiday season.

“One of Charles Dickens’s favorite ways to spread holiday cheer was to perform dramatic readings of his beloved ghost story for audiences near and far,” the release explains. “With a trusty, self-edited copy of his novella in hand, Dickens took Scrooge’s tale of transformation on the road for decades, standing at podiums and entertaining large crowds of devoted fans from London to Boston and beyond.”

So, think of it as an old tradition renewed via technology. The piece will stream on demand December 19-31, with tickets going on sale October 6, and only cost $10 per household. You can find more info here