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Community updates: Tuesday, Sept. 1

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre launches Drive-In Live Theatre Series; Grand Rapids Public Museum hosting Chaffee Planetarium virtual meetups.
Grand Rapids Public Museum, overlooking the Grand River.

Grand Rapids Public Museum, overlooking the Grand River. /Experience Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre launches Drive-In Live Theatre Series

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre (GRCT) is launching a Drive-In Live Theatre Series, it announced Tuesday.

The series will take place at the DeltaPlex Arena's parking lot and run October through December. It comes as GRCT's doors remain closed due to the pandemic-related shutdown of theaters across Michigan, going on five and a half months.

Classic seasonally-themed tales will be performed on stage by GRCT's volunteer actors, with their voices broadcasting through a designated FM radio frequency.

"Drive up, tune in your radio, and we’ll cover the rest!" the theater said in a programming update. "Our volunteer actors will perform the acting and sound effects all live in front of you – giving you the chance to see and hear live radio magic from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle."

Performances of Dracula will take place October through early November. Late November through early December will see performances of A Christmas Carol.

Attendance will be limited to 100 cars per performance, to ensure all attendees are able to see the performers.

GRCT also announced Tuesday that its 2020/21 season, previously put on hold, is officially canceled. Season subscriptions will automatically be shifted to the 2021/22 season.

More details about the theater's drive-in series and 2020/21 season cancellation are available on its Facebook page, with more updates to come through its website.


Grand Rapids Public Museum hosting Chaffee Planetarium virtual meetups

Starting this month, Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) will be hosting a series of online meetups to educate on space exploration and the night sky.

Called the Virtual Backyard Stargazing series, its meetups come as the museum's Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium remains closed due to pandemic mitigation. Most of the rest of the museum reopened in July with new safety measures.

Chaffee Planetarium staff will lead attendees through interactive, Zoom-based journeys through the universe – including stops through Mars, the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda galaxy, and more. Staff will educate attendees on the connections between these locations and current scientific explorations.

Kicking off the series on September 10 is an exploration of Mars, with a focus on the recently launched Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. The Perseverance Rover is scheduled to land on Mars in February 2021, will seek signs of ancient life, and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.

"Our virtual meetups are an extension of the Chaffee Planetarium experience, especially while the doors remain closed at this time," said Dr. Stephanie Ogren, GRPM's Vice President of Science and Education. "The museum team enjoys sparking curiosity within families of all ages, with a passion for sharing the planetarium with the community."

The meetups will also include a Q&A session. More details about the series are available on the Planetarium Shows page on GRPM's website.


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