Anywhere can be a stage, if a performer is creative enough — even Ketchikan's own Ward Lake.
Coming away from the last weekend of "Fish Pirate's Daughter" performances, First City Players is taking theater outdoors for a Labor Day weekend event.
FCP Executive Artistic Director Elizabeth Nelson said that the inspiration for the Ward Lake Theatre Walk struck this spring, around the time that COVID-19 started to cause business closures around the First City.
"My husband and I took a walk out at Ward Lake soon after everything got shut down in March, and were just talking about things that might be a possibility, and were giggling about all sorts of different possibilities that could happen out there," Nelson recalled. "And then, I don't know, a couple months ago I started really rethinking about it."
The concept of an outdoor theater performance wasn't unfamiliar to Nelson, because the FCP program "Ketchikan Writes" had always entertained the idea of hosting an outdoor theater festival.
"And we thought, 'So let's tie the two ideas together and we'll go on a nature walk and hopefully have some original theater,'" Nelson said.
On Sept. 4 — after purchasing tickets in advance from FCP – small groups of people can enjoy a walk around Ward Lake and remain socially distance while experiencing different short performances of a variety of themes.
"You'll start your walk, and your guide will stop you anytime there is an event to watch," Nelson explained. "And the event could be an original piece of theater, it could be spoken word, it could be a musical event, it could be a dance, and then you'll continue on your walk until you've gone all the way around the lake."
Nelson said that while details of who would be performing — or what exactly the short theater productions would entail — were under wraps, she did estimate there will be six or seven different "events" scattered across the grounds at Ward Lake.
The walk will be completed in groups of 10 people, with one guide assigned to lead each group through the performances.
The walks will set off at 5:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., Nelson said. Should the weather "dump rain" on that day, the event will move to the same times on Sept. 5, Nelson noted.
Masks will be recommended but not mandatory during the walk itself, although masks will be before the walk starts.
"We're very aware of social distancing (and) we're very aware of COVID," Nelson said about FCP's safety measures.
"We're also very aware that theater is not necessarily the safest event, which is why outside is great to be able to do this," she added.
The Ward Lake Theatre Walk will be the third in-person event that FCP has coordinated after the organization shut its doors temporarily due to COVID-19 in March.
In the past weeks, FCP has organized the annual youth theater camp "ArtsCool" and four performances of the traditional summer melodrama, "The Fish Pirate's Daughter."