Down The Rabbit Hole: Alice has new adventures at Arts Live

Down The Rabbit Hole: Alice has new adventures at Arts Live

For nearly a year now, Arts Live Theatre has fully embraced the pivot to online programming caused by the global pandemic. Led by Executive Director Mark Landon Smith, the youth theater company started offering virtual entertainment, classes and workshops in mid-March 2020 and hasn’t stopped for a second since. Now, prolific playwright Smith has written a new script, using what he’s learned over the past year. “Alice in Cyberland,” according to its publisher’s blurb, “brilliantly captures the nonsensical zaniness of Wonderland, transporting the fun to an online world. …With most scenes requiring only two to three character cameras to be on at one time, this virtual twist on a literary classic, perfect for all ages, will add a wonderful sparkle to your online theater season.”

“Early in the pandemic, Arts Live saw the need for virtual performances, so we adapted a few of the scripts we have performed before and adjusted them to work virtually,” says Smith. “At first, publishers were offering all of their titles for streaming, but there wasn’t much written to be performed exclusively virtually. ‘Alice In Wonderland’ is my favorite children’s book, and I thought it would work as a virtual script with the characters knowing they are in a virtual world, and the adaptation reflects that.”

With many schools transitioning to online classes, creative outlets have been hard to come by.

“We receive so many messages from the young actors and their families about how grateful they are for the virtual programming Arts Live Theatre is offering, and all of the many opportunities for participation,” says Smith. “The actors enjoy the rehearsal process, but, more importantly, they enjoy seeing each other, being together and making new friends. And, as we post all of our virtual programming to the Arts Live YouTube channel, they and everyone can enjoy and share their work.”

There are even some upsides to virtual programming.

“The unexpected positives of being virtual is we have been able to engage young actors throughout the country, and we have created programming specifically for the virtual market,” says Smith.

“Procrastinating on her homework, Alice falls asleep as she plays solitaire on her computer and is awoken by a white rabbit,” reads the description of Arts Live Theatre’s “Alice in Cyberland.” “As the fuzzy bunny rushes off, the Cheshire Cat appears, informing Alice with a smile that she is now in Cyberland. Alice learns that she must find the dreaded Queen of Hearts in order to learn the password that will allow her to regain control of her computer.” (Courtesy Photo/Arts Live Theatre)

In addition to productions created specifically for online performances like “Alice in Cyberland,” Smith and ALT have also forged important partnerships that have helped widen their students’ exposure to the larger world of theater. Last year, they partnered with the 24 Hour Play producers to create 24 Hour Monologues, and another round of that event is coming up soon. Smith has also been creative when coming up with fun, interactive online activities that students can easily participate in, like “Splash Theater,” which Smith says involves “two writers, two actors; each writer writes 30 lines independently. Two actors are sent only their lines and film themselves saying these lines. The footage is then edited together to create a piece of Splash Theatre — and no one knows who else is involved or what the piece ends up being about until it is published.”



Arts Live Theatre

“Alice in Cyberland” at Arts Live Theatre will be streaming soon. Find information at or on Facebook at

Categories: Family Friendly