A Different Kind of Holiday: Local arts groups get creative to ring in the season during the pandemic

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden. (File)

There’s no getting around it: the holidays are going to be different this year due to the pandemic. Many beloved annual events have been cancelled or will go virtual, while others are taking a “wait and see” approach, which is why you should check AtlantaINtownPaper.com for the latest updates.

But don’t despair. There are still events happening to help ring in the season and we’ve rounded up some recommendations for November and beyond to get you in the holiday spirit.

The Roof at Ponce City Market
Head to the top of Ponce City Market to “Skate the Sky” on 3,500-square-foot ice skating rink, enjoy food and beverages in socially distanced private igloos, and have some Instagrammable moments with the holiday decorations beginning Nov. 27. Vist poncecityroof.com for details and reservations.

Alliance Theatre
The pandemic is giving the Alliance Theatre an opportunity to breathe new life into its holiday war horse. From Dec. 4-23, the Summerhill Lot at Georgia State University’s Center Parc Credit Union Stadium will transform into a drive-in theater, with a stage for live actors and big screens providing a live concert-style experience for “A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play.” Capacity will be limited to allow for distance between cars. General admission tickets start at $50 per car. Also coming up as part of the Alliance Theatre Anywhere streaming platform on Nov. 27 is “A Very Terry Christmas,” as writer and star Terry Burrell visits iconic Atlanta holiday destinations while sharing  stories and jazz-inspired versions of favorite holiday songs. Visit alliancetheatre.org for tickets and streaming information.

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
This year’s light show at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, presented Nov. 14 through Jan. 16, will provide a far more intimate experience than in years past with limited guest capacity each night of the run. Masks and social distancing will be required so guests can have a worry-free experience. Tickets are selling quickly, so visit atlantabg.org to secure your reservation.

Out Front Theatre Company
The city’s LGBTQIA+ theatre company will stream two productions during the holiday season. “Bright Colors & Bold Patterns,” written Drew Droege, follows a drunken, drug-fueled party in Palm Springs on the eve of a wedding. It will stream Nov. 20-22. “The Santa Closet” by Jeffrey Solomon contemplates Santa coming out of the closet and diving headlong into the culture wars Dec. 11-13.  For more information, visit OutFrontTheatre.org.

Actor’s Express
The theatre’s Virtual Downstage platform will be streaming a filmed production of Charlayne Woodard’s “Neat” directed by Eric J. Little and starring Charity Purvis Jordan as the one woman show’s title character, Aunt Neat. What begins as a nostalgic personal remembrance blossoms into a magical and compelling story of embracing womanhood, Blackness and the myriad changes of life itself. Visit actors-express.com for more information.

Indie Craft Experience
The annual holiday shopping tradition is going virtual this year with digital sales platform. The digital marketplace will be available via ice-atlanta.com and each craft vendor will be listed with a brief description of what they offer, product images, links to their social media, links to their website and online shop, and information about their live event. Upcoming “Shop in Place” events are set for Nov. 14 and Dec. 5 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Santa at Rhodes Hall
The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation will host the annual Santa at Rhodes Hall each weekend from Nov. 29 to Dec. 19. There will be enhanced safety and sanitation protocols due to the pandemic, but kids will still get to spend some quality personal time with Santa. Proceeds benefit the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. Reservation are required at GeorgiaTrust.org or by calling (404) 885-7812.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
The ASO will be streaming a live tribute to Ravel  including Le tombeau de Couperin, Shéhérazade, and Mother Goose Suite on Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. Visit AtlantaSymphony.org for tickets.

Children’s Christmas Parade
The 40th annual parade hosted by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has been cancelled, but there will be a special documentary and a salute to healthcare workers in a program called “A Look Back At 40 Years of the Children’s Christmas Parade,” which will air on WSB-TV on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. 

High Museum of Art
The High has reopened to patrons, with social distancing in mind, and will close out the year with a big touring exhibition of the work of renowned photographer Dawoud Bey. The show, “Dawoud Bey: An American Project,” will open Dec. 12 and continue through March 14. Bey is known for his powerful images from underrepresented communities and exploring African-American history. For tickets and information, visit high.org.

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