May 12, 2020

Top 10 things to do online this weekend while social distancing in Southwest Florida

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

Charles Runnells, Fort Myers News-Press

Published 12:00 p.m. ET May 7, 2020 | Updated 10:10 a.m. ET May 8, 2020

Looking for something fun to do while social distancing during the coronavirus? Here are our top 10 things to do online this weekend and beyond — from a Tiny Theatre in a closet to a virtual 5K to an online art show from Lee County students.

It’s all streaming or posting from Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples and the rest of Southwest Florida.

1. Tiny Theatre

Husband and wife acting team Brendan Powers and Rachel Burttram Powers usually perform onstage at Florida Repertory Theatre and Theatre Conspiracy. With all the theaters closed, though, they decided to convert a bedroom closet into their own Tiny Theatre — complete with a stage. Three days a week, they perform scenes, plays and monologues sent by their playwright friends. There’s even a “talkback” with the audience after each show. They perform at 9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with the page going live at 8:55 p.m.

2. The Naples Players Story Hour

This new video series features Naples Players education director Hester Kamin telling fairy tales and folktales from around the world. Her next story will be Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” 11 a.m. Wednesdays. For kids of all ages. New videos will be posted on The Naples Players’ YouTube channel and

Mariner High School senior Samantha Hower’s “Highest in the Room” is featured in “The Future of Art: Student Exhibit” at The Alliance for the Arts. (Photo: Special to The News-Press)

3. The Future of Art: Student Exhibit

The Alliance for the Arts has transformed this annual art exhibit into a virtual one. It features student artwork from 13 Southwest Florida schools in a variety of mediums. Now through May 31.

4. The SoDis (Socially-Distant) Theater Project

Lab Theater continues its weekly series of online play readings with “Inviting Marie,” a one-act comedy by News-Press investigative reporter (and budding playwright) Melanie Payne. They’ll perform on the videoconferencing app Zoom. The recording premieres online at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but it can be watched any time after that. Free. and the Lab’s YouTube channel (

5. Homebound Happy Hour

Local actors and longtime friends Liz Abbott and Stephanie Davis sip drinks, chat and interview special guests for this weekly virtual “happy hour.” 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays.

6. QuaRUNtine 5K

Babcock Ranch hosts this virtual 5K race all month long. Runners and walkers participate at their own time, place and pace — whether its walking a treadmill or around your own neighborhood. Do it anytime between Saturday and May 30, then submit your best finishing time by emailing to Awards will be given for overall best male and female time, plus first and second place in various age categories. Entry fee is $12 for Babcock Ranch residents and $20 for nonresidents, including a Dri-Fit race shirt. Register by the end of Friday, May 8 at

7. Florida Rep’s Stage@Home

Florida Repertory Theater’s weekly series offers new live, interactive content every Friday on the videoconferencing app Zoom. Next up: A discussion with playwrights from the theater’s previous PlayLab new play festivals. 3:30 p.m. Fridays. Free, but registration is required. Limited to 100 participants. For details and a full schedule, visit

8. Virtual Chalk Block and Art Under 20

ArtFest Fort Myers takes two popular attractions from its annual art festival and turns them into virtual activities for students. For Chalk Block, kids can draw using chalk, crayons, markers, pencils or paint on a 3 feet by 3 feet work surface (anything from a sidewalk, driveway or other concrete or asphalt surface — with chalk — to cardboard, paper or another surface). Then there’s Art Under 20, the annual art exhibit that’s now gone online. Students can either create new art or submit art they’ve already done. The results will be turned into a virtual art show.  Both events are open to all Lee County students from elementary to high school. Submissions continue through May 24. The entries will be shared on ArtFest’s Facebook page. For full details, visit or email ArtFest at

9. #DocksideChatswithSteve

Steve Colgate, founder of of Fort Myers’ Offshore Sailing School, tells stories from 56 years of sailing, boat racing and teaching in this ongoing video series shot at his home. New episodes are posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. or

10. “Living With The Virus”

Betsy Bennett of comedy duo Compton & Bennett returns with her popular character Naomi Lipschitz-Yamamoto-Murphy. The “Queen of Quarantine” stars in this video series offering funny tips and observations about “Living With The Virus.” One or two new short videos are planned each week. To find the videos, search for “Naomi Lipschitz-Yamamoto-Murphy” on Facebook or YouTube.

— Got anything cool happening online next weekend or later? Email me the details at