Can Virtual Theater Fulfill the Function of Live Theater in COVID–19 for Tertiary Level Dance Program Stakeholders?


As the coronavirus pandemic affected tertiary level dance education worldwide, relevant stakeholders responded to the unprecedented change to online modality, by pursuing virtual theater as a solution to the absence of the live theater format. This study examined the perceptions of tertiary level dance program stakeholders on the efficacy of virtual theater as a substitute for the live theater experience. This study premised that there was a significant difference between the perception of the respondents when grouped according to administrators and professors versus students. A mixed method study design was used, including quantitative and qualitative content analysis involving 116 respondents of tertiary level dance programs in the country. The results revealed that although stakeholders perceived that virtual theater was incapable of fulfilling the functions of live theater in pre– pandemic times, therefore nullifying the possibility of virtual theater as a stand–in for live theater, virtual theater’s continued existence beyond COVID–19 was resoundingly anticipated. There was generally no significant difference between the responses of stakeholders, albeit in some areas where responses were significant, by virtue of stakeholder position or status. Through the findings of this study, the researchers proposed operational initiatives to mitigate the problem of an uncertain future for the performing arts, a sector unhinged by physical distancing. Considering that COVID–19 effects may linger, and that the ongoing presence of virtual theater is inevitable, the researchers likewise broached strategies to reimagine a more resilient and sustainable virtual theater. Recommendations are made with guidelines for future research provided.

Author Information
Maria Lucina Anonas De Santos, De la Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Philippines
Magdalena De Leon, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2023
Stream: Performing Arts Practices: Theater

This paper is part of the ACAH2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Santos M., & Leon M. (2023) Can Virtual Theater Fulfill the Function of Live Theater in COVID–19 for Tertiary Level Dance Program Stakeholders? ISSN: 2186-229X – The Asian Conference on Arts & Humanities 2023 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon