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Drive-in Live! to bring theater outdoors

The Empty Space is inviting you to its drive-in but there’s no movie on the schedule. Instead the Oak Street theater is setting up an outdoor stage for a variety performance that people can enjoy from the comfort of their vehicle.

Saturday's Drive-In Live! will give performers a chance to take the stage safely outdoors while entertaining the community. 

Brian Purcell, who coordinated the event with Trenton Benet, describes this drive-in as "of the community and for the community!"

"It’s a socially distanced collaboration where performers get to strut on an actual stage for the first time in a year!," he wrote in an email. "The pandemic has hit the performing arts world pretty hard, and this is a chance to perform for performance’s sake. It’s not meant to be a competition, but rather a chance to pour one's artistic soul into a physical space without sacrificing safety or health."

Wanting the evening to be a reflection of the local artistic community, Purcell said he put out the call to artists, yielding acts expressing themselves through music, poetry, vocals, movement and acting.

These acts include nomadic theater troupe The Ccircle, Jesse Brazil, James Dethlefson, Guinevere PH Dethlefson, Avery Gibson, Dan Grider, Megan Jarrett, Kelsea Johnson, Mateo Lara, Patrick McNeal, Dakota Nash, Chayce Perlis and Danielle Rodriguez.

Performers will utilize the 16-by-9-foot stage being set up in front of the theater. The parking lot will be mapped out allowing vehicles who have reserved a space a good view for passengers of the stage. Purcell said there will be markings and ushers to help guide vehicles into designated spots, which will allow for an easy exit should the need arise.

Spaces are limited so act quickly to reserve yours at The Empty Space's website. Attendees can also preorder concessions with an individual snack pack ($5) with popcorn, choice of candy and beverage and family pack ($20) for four available. 

Purcell said he pitched the drive-in as a one-night production but said since there are more artists interested in participating, that there could be another similar experience.

"Events like these are healing for the forgotten artistic community," he wrote. "Keeping people safe is our No. 1 priority at The Empty Space, but providing an artistic experience is a close second. If we can reconcile the two successfully then I’d love to see a similar event in the future!"

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.