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Pittsburgh Ballet To Host Season's First Live, In-Person Performance Showcase

Bill O'Driscoll
90.5 WESA
This is the mobile stage Pittsburgh Ballet will use for the new series, here seen for a limited-seating audience last fall in the group's parking lot.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is teaming with more than 20 local arts groups for the city's first live, in-person performance festival this year, the group announced Wednesday.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presents Open Air: A Series in Celebration of the Performing Arts: May 18-31, on Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park, Oakland

Open Air: A Series in Celebration of the Performing Arts, will feature dance, music and theater on PBT’s large new mobile stage on Flagstaff Hill, in Schenley Park. After a long pandemic winter, when almost all performance offerings have been online, Open Air will offer eight afternoon and evening performances over two weeks starting May 18.

PBT will present contemporary ballet works as well as excerpts of classics including “Swan Lake” and “The Sleeping Beauty.” Other participating groups include: Attack Theatre; Balafon West African Dance; Lemington Gospel Choir; Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre; Pittsburgh CLO; Pittsburgh Cultural Trust; Pittsburgh Opera; Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co.; Pittsburgh Public Theater; River City Brass Band; and Texture Contemporary Ballet. Most programs will feature performances by multiple groups.

PBT acquired the mobile stage last year with just such productions in mind, and deployed it last fall for a short series held in the parking lot of its own Strip District headquarters, with very limited, invitation-only seating. Featured were the PBT's own artists along with performers from Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Opera.

In a statement, PBT said the new Open Air series will be held “in a safe, socially-distanced outdoor manner.” A PBT spokesperson said the group’s plans “include enforced masking, social distancing, sanitation stations and strict backstage protocols for performers and staff.”

The series will be Pittsburgh’s first large-scale in-person performing-art's showcase since City Theatre’s Drive-In Community Arts Festival, last fall.

More information, including a complete schedule, is here.

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Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: