Behind the Screen: Talking about the impact of COVID-19 with Jennifer Salter, Costume Shop Manager

Behind the Screen: Talking about the impact of COVID-19 with Jennifer Salter, Costume Shop Manager

Submitted by: Carson Huerta and Lauren Northcutt

It has been almost a year since the world was thrust into uncertainty with a global pandemic. Theaters all across the globe, including our own, were forced to halt their productions and adapt to the changes introduced by our current moment. Here at Auburn, we have had the privilege to continue to participate in the art of theatre socially distanced, and virtually present our work to the community of Auburn. This semester, the university also began its distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine which has dawned a new sense of hope for the campus community. To see how these changes have affected members within our own community, we talked with Costume Shop Manager, Jennifer Salter.


How has receiving the vaccine helped you get back to working in the theatre?

  • I have been working like normal since before the vaccine. We were called on to make costumes for the shows. I had to be touching and fitting people. Of course, with masks on- that was the difference. But now I can do my work without the accompany of fear- the vaccine has taken some strain off that.


While working on the show, what has been your favorite moment so far?

  • Getting to watch my students’ film over at The Gogue Performing Arts Center. I love getting to see a little bit of normalcy in the performance- specifically Ebony’s performance which is on stage and I was able to watch her in the darkened wings. It felt the way things before all this used to feel.


What is one way that you grew and evolved despite the pandemic?

  • I think I have a new-found appreciation for working in academic theatre specifically. I have always loved academic theatre but you know there are definitely times where you miss the professional world. Watching my friends in professional theatre though who have not been able to create or participate in the art that we love has made me appreciate the privilege of academic life. Being on a campus that has worked to keep us creating by working with other departments and the GPAC. When someone needs to get tested we have the resources at the Med clinic to do that. Auburn has been on top of it with vaccinations. With students and teachers here in the theatre department getting vaccinated we are getting closer to herd immunity. Anyway, I believe the pandemic has made me more aware of my appreciation for this space.


What is something that you turn to, (theatre-related or not) for hope?

  • Seeing obvious change on November 7 was a big step towards hope in my opinion. The hope that people will start respecting science again. I really do look towards science and logic. Seeing how quickly science has unified and offered a remedy to get us back to normalcy has given me hope. With the rest of the world seeing how this pandemic has affected live performance, I’m hopeful that out of this tragic situation for the arts there is more visibility. I am hopeful that people will value and appreciate the live arts. It’s not something they can take for granted any longer. I hope that they will support local, regional, and professional theaters.


Last Updated: March 17, 2021