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Posts tagged ‘Paprika Festival’

Artists Profile: Britta Johnson – She’s Funny, She’s Sharp & She’s Pushing Boundaries with Musical Theatre Big-Wigs in “Life After”

by: Hallie Seline

Britta Johnson – Three-time Playwright in Residence with the Paprika Festival featuring her piece “Life After” – A New Musical to be shown at the Paprika Festival Fundraiser April 5th in the Tarragon Theatre Back Space.

HS: If you could describe yourself in five words, what would they be?

BJ: This is a hard question.
Whoops, that was five words.
So was that. My god.
And that. I can’t stop.
“Does not follow directions well.”
There. I did it.

HS: Tell me a little bit about your piece being featured as part of the Paprika Festival Fundraiser this Friday, April 5th.

BJ: “Life After” was born during my time as a playwright-in-residence with Paprika last year. I presented just a few plot sketches and songs in last year’s festival and had the amazing opportunity to return to it this year and let it grow into a more fully realized piece of theatre. The draft is still far from completion but it’s certainly at a point where I am ready to hear it and let an audience help me decide what the next step should be.

The story begins at the funeral of a man named Frank Carter, a celebrity self-help author whose car smashed into a truck just as his book was becoming a smash hit. The protagonist is his 16-year-old daughter, Alice, who finds herself running into some questions about the very nature of her relationship with a man who meant so much to so many but seemed like a stranger to her. The show hopes to examine some questions about life and death, celebrity and fame and coming of age. At its core, it really is a comedy (even though it talks about death an awful lot) and it features ten brand new songs.

HS: Any hints as to whom these Canadian Musical Theatre “big wigs” are who will be performing?

BJ: Well, the cat’s out of the bag! The names are on the facebook event. So I won’t just hint. I’ll tell you.

I am very pleased to announce that the reading will feature Sheila McCarthy, Trish Lindstrom, Steven Gallagher, Kelly Holiff, Laura Jean Elligsen and my incredible older sister, Anika Johnson. I can’t really believe I get to work with these people (except my sister. She had to say yes. Saying no would have been really bad form. But I’m still very excited she is involved). I have been doing some breathing exercises to ensure that I don’t pass out when I first meet the cast.

HS: How did you get started with the Paprika festival?

BJ: I was in my first year of university and found myself really craving opportunities to create my own work and connect with other people doing the same. I really took for granted how many platforms you are given for your writing in high school and how many resources you have access to just by virtue of the fact that that they all exist in the same building. Suddenly I was spending my days sitting in lectures about pre-renaissance chant music and trying to figure out how the hell to use an oven while neglecting my writing and composing, two activities that were central features to my lifestyle back in my hometown.  I finally decided to seek out some programs that would help to give me the structure I needed to get writing again, found Paprika online, applied for the Creator’s Unit and never looked back. Paprika has since connected me with my now dearest friends and collaborators and has given me the chance to work with some of the most inspiring theatre professionals in the city (not to mention the fact that there are sometimes snacks at the training days, which comes in handy because I still don’t totally know how to work my oven.)

HS: What has been the most notable experience or realization that you have gained from your involvement with the Paprika Festival?

BJ: That’s so hard to answer. I have had a countless number of hugely valuable experiences during my time with this festival. Perhaps the most important thing that I have realized is that the self-doubt never goes away and that’s ok. What I mean is that I often paralyze myself with self-intimidation. “Who do you think you are?”, “Your ideas are stupid”, “Why do you write musicals? You should be in an indie band or something if you ever expect to get dates” are all thoughts that often play on loop in my head and keep me from doing anything productive, even though I know deep down that creating is a valuable way to spend time whatever the outcome may be. Through my Paprika mentorships, I have realized that there is no amount of success that will make these thoughts go away. I have worked with Leslie Arden and Reza Jacobs, two of the most incredible theatre composers in the city who struggle with the same challenges. They both have explained to me that the trick is not to expect yourself to rise above these thoughts altogether but to learn to work with them and not give them too much power. They rarely reflect the actual quality of the work and even if they do, it was worthwhile to do the work anyways. The fact that the Paprika Festival focuses on process over product is something that has totally transformed how I go about creating. My goal is no longer to create something totally amazing. My goal is to challenge myself, to find the bravery to share my ideas even when they aren’t polished, to push my own boundaries even when it scares me and to dare to be dreadful.

HS: What is the strongest advice you have ever gotten as an artist and how has it affected you and your work?

BJ: Other than the afore mentioned valuable advice about feeling the fear and doing it anyways, I have learned a whole lot about process from working with Reza Jacobs on “Life After”. Reza has consistently encouraged me to just keep churning out new material and to not get stuck trying to perfect what has already been created. “Life After” has been the first show I have ever written for which I didn’t have a plot pre-conceived when I began. I applied for Paprika last year without a clue about what to write. (I honestly don’t know why they let me in. They asked me about my ideas in the interview and I was just like “Dunno. We’ll see.” And for some reason they had faith in me. Weird.) Reza always pushes me to just keep writing. If I have a thought, write it. If I have a question, write about it. Don’t get too stuck looking at what I have and trying to sculpt it into anything before it is ready. This process has been so freeing and organic and I think the concepts in the show are more complex because I gave them the time to be fully realized without stressing about what the show “needed to be.” The draft that has resulted is at times a little chaotic but ultimately more interesting.

HS: If you could choose one artists/musician/playwright to work with in the future who would it be and why?

BJ: Steven Sondheim. No question. He is the reason I tried writing musicals in the first place. He completely transformed everything about what I thought was possible in a piece of theatre. I have to hurry up and find out where he lives though. He’s getting old.

Also Tina Fey and Victor Borge (who is no longer alive but I didn’t think we were going for realistic situations here.) I could keep going… Shakespeare, Debussy, Carol Burnett. I guess you only asked for one. Sondheim tops the list.

HS: At In the Greenroom we like to discover how artists find inspiration, especially in their downtime. Where do you look to find creative inspiration?

BJ: All kinds of places! I have an incredible community of artists around me (some of whom I live with) and daily I am inspired and challenged simply by spending time and sharing my ideas with them. More specifically, when I am stuck writing a song I usually play music that I love, try to figure out why I love it and proceed to imitate it. It’s usually just a jumping off point and the music grows into being my own voice. But sometimes it doesn’t. I won’t tell you the parts of this show that are direct imitation but they are certainly there.

HS: What is your favourite place in Toronto and why?

BJ: That’s a hard one. Is it lame to say my apartment? I have amazing roommates, nice lamps and a good movie collection. Beyond that, Kensington Market (because I am very indie), the Island, Honest Ed’s, Future Bakery, Flip Toss and Thai (No. I can’t get into food places. I’ll never stop. There are so many food places I could say.) I love so many places. I love this city.

HS: What are you passionate/jazzed about these days?

BJ: So many things! I don’t know how to answer this…. Here are some things that I like… I’m really digging a Schubert piece I’m playing on piano right now. I just discovered the show “Portlandia” which I think may be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I’m obsessed with my friends. Honestly, I hang out with the most interesting and talented people. I have been so inspired by the other work I have seen in the Paprika Festival so far. The other two playwrights-in-residence, Jennie Egerdie and Sabrina White, are unbelievable. Remember those names. These two women are something special. I also just rediscovered Justin Timberlake’s “Futuresex/Lovesounds” and it’s taken over my life in a pretty extreme way. I’m just excited about this city and the people I know in it. A lot of really exciting work is happening. This was a poorly organized answer.

HS: It’s fantastic. Any plans for the near future?

BJ: In the immediate future, I have to figure out a way to finish off my school year without skipping town. I take procrastination to a whole new level, which makes this time of year a particular kind of hell.
Beyond that, I have a few writing projects on the back burner that I hope to invest some serious time in this summer. I will likely go visit my mom in Ireland (she moved to Ireland. How cool is that?), teach some piano lessons and keep on working on this show because it is far from completion. Honestly, I feel like I’m just getting started.
I also probably need a haircut pretty soon.

HS: What can people hope to expect from “Life After”?

BJ: I hope that people will laugh. I hope the story will ring true with the audience. I hope it will pose some interesting questions and look at loss and grief in a new and refreshing way. I hope that the music will heighten the story-telling in a way that is enchanting and entertaining. It’s hard to know what to expect. The piece is very much still in-process right now and I’m not even sure what features will be the most striking when I hear it read out loud. I look forward to learning as much as possible from having an audience in the room. I know for certain that the audience will bear witness to some dazzling performances. The cast I get to work with is world class. I also know for certain that it will make my mother cry so I will walk away feeling like I did something right. Saying that, I think my mother’s just deeply proud I kept up with piano practice and wear sensible shoes so the tears may not have to do with the writing. We’ll see.

Tickets for “Life After”, The Paprika Festival Fundraiser – $20 includes show, pre/post show receptions & talk-back.

For tickets go to the Tarragon Theatre website, call the Box office: 416-531-1827, or get them in person.

The 12 Annual Paprika Festival runs March 27th – April 6th at the Tarragon Theatre Extra Space.
For complete show descriptions & a detailed calendar of their productions and events check out the Paprika Festival website: paprikafestival.com

Shows have been selling out so catch them while you can!

A Few Words with Mitchell Cushman – The 2013 Paprika Festival

Ryan Quinn: So, I’m here with Mitchell Cushman! The 2013 Paprika Festival is well underway. We’ve been hearing some exciting things about the new work being presented and expansive programming this year. Would you like to tell me a bit about the festival as a whole and what your role as Director of Artistic Programs means for the process?

Mitchell Cushman: Sure. The Paprika Festival is currently in its twelfth year of operations. I was actually in the second year as a participant, when the festival was a much smaller thing. Back then, there were just three programs going on, there was no mentorship, no auxiliary. Most of the aspects that make Paprika what it is now have come along in the past four or five years under the artistic production of Rob Kempson. He’s in his fourth and final year with the festival. He’s really expanded Paprika, so as opposed to it being a festival that happens once a year, there’s also eight months of programming leading up to it. There are now seven productions, which function at a distance from the festival. We select them all but then they rehearse on their own. It’s also a juried festival. We collect applications from high school and university students for shows, pick the ones we’re most excited about, and then offer mentor support, pairing each group with a professional artist who works with them over the year. Finally we give them a great place to present their pieces, the Tarragon extra space.

Aside from that, we also offer two weekly programs; the Creators’ Unit and the Resident Company. Those are both groups that people apply to as individuals, we then create ensembles through those applications, then we pair them up with professional mentors as directors and facilitators.

We have a playwright-in-residence program, whose individual plays will culminate in readings during the festival. We’re also offering mini-mentorships, which is kind of a junior version of that. We also have an Olde Spice program for people over 21. Our cutoff age for Paprika is usually 21, but this is more of an alumni program for people who’ve worked with us previously, and now we’re supporting their later work.

There’s also one more program that’s new this year called the Advisory Board, that’s a steering committee of people between the ages of 14 and 25 who are interested in producing.  They’ve been involved with the production of the festival. They’re running our studio cabaret late night series, so every night after the festival, there is some fantastic late-night programming courtesy of the advisory board.

R: So the festival seems to really help young artists trying to break into any aspect of production.

M: Absolutely. I think that’s the exciting way the festival has expanded, by really offering mentorship opportunities to people in every area, as you say. I think the festival really stands out because all of our productions are application-based and juried, so as much as it is a training program, we truly believe in the excellence we’re putting forward on stage as well. We look at it as “What’s the highest quality work we can present?”.

R: How does the experience change, then, when working with young people as opposed to working with people who’ve been in the theatre a longer time?

M: I think you get surprised more often. I mean, the fact that they’re fresh and new, and yet we’re blown away by the work they do. Especially this year, I think it’s the strongest year for Paprika. Everyone is coming from these places…I really feel like there are some strong new voices at work. There’s a fantastic piece being presented called This Play is Like, and on the surface it’s a play about a peanut allergy, but it’s really about how people can be allergic to their environments. It has a whole narrative shadow puppet show that compliments the main story. It’s one of the things that really blew me away when we were looking at all of the works this year.

R: As you mentioned before, the festival is expanding and adding new programs every year, gaining notoriety. Ideally, in ten years, what would the festival look like?

M: There are things that we’re doing in a small way now, that if we had the resources, we’d love to do in a bigger way for the future. Last year we hosted a school, where some of the productions went to schools and actually played for them, which was a perfect fit because they were playing to their peers. We’d love to do that in a bigger way and go to more schools. We’d also love to increase our outreach. Most of our participants hear about us through their schools but there are more and more who don’t. We’ve also talked about the idea of reaching out to other cities. For the first time this year, we have a group from out of the city, from Ottawa, who have been commuting in from there, if you can believe that! So, we love the idea of Paprika festivals in other places in Ontario, or even further, that we could partner with.

R: That sounds amazing. Well, thanks so much for your time and break a leg with this last week of Paprika!

M: Thanks!

The 12 Annual Paprika Festival runs March 27th – April 6th at the Tarragon Theatre Extra Space.
For complete show descriptions & a detailed calendar of their productions and events check out the Paprika Festival website: paprikafestival.com 
For tickets go to the Tarragon Theatre website. Shows have been selling out so catch them while you can!
 

“Start, Stop, Continue” for 2013: A Conversation Starter for the Toronto Theatre Arts Community

By: Hallie Seline – Co-Founder & Editor

The past year in Toronto theatre has been a tumultuous one to say the least. From the firing of Ken Gass from the Factory Theatre, to the open letter to younger theatre artists by David Ferry on the Praxis website and the debate that ensued. From government funding, a desire for a new union model, the plethora of new independent theatre companies, and where emerging and veteran artists alike fit into the Toronto theater world, there is a lot of discussion to be had about where we stand as a community and where we should hope to go next. As we begin the new year I think this is a perfect time to reflect on what we have done as an arts community in 2012, where we currently stand and most importantly how we hope to move forward in 2013.

I have done this in the form of a “Start, Stop, Continue”. Our first installment features the ideas of Rob Kempson (Theatre Passe Muraille/Paprika Festival), Stacey Norton (Theatre Smash), Kelly Straughan (The Toronto Fringe, Seventh Stage Theatre) and Eric Double (Theatre Caravel).

Read our Feature’s first installment here!

Staging a Rebellion: An Interview with Docket Theatre’s Artistic Director Llyandra Jones

Staging a Rebellion: An Interview with Docket Theatre’s Artistic Director Llyandra Jones

June 19, 2012

By: Hallie Seline

Docket Theatre is an independent non-profit theatre company based in downtown Toronto. Its mandate is to “produce innovative and socially relevant work by emerging artists, while keeping theatre alive in a world overwhelmed with media entertainment”. Tocelebrate its fourth consecutive season, Docket Theatre is producing its first double-bill this summer at the Helen Gardiner Playhouse opening this Thursday. I sat down with Artistic Director Llyandra Jones moving between New Generation Sushi on Bloor to a nice sunny patio in the Annex to discuss the two plays, the development of Docket Theatre and their second show, a verbatim theatre piece called “Performing Occupy Toronto”.

Hallie Seline: You are the Artistic Director of Docket Theatre who are producing their first double bill titled Staging a Rebellion, featuring two new plays: A Farewell Party & Performing Occupy Toronto, opening this Thursday. Can you give me a quick synopsis for each show?

Llyandra Jones: Sure!  A Farewell Party is a comedy written by  Evan O’Donnell and directed by Alex Borkowski and it takes place in the 1920s. It’s kind of in the realm of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, playful and fun but a time of political and cultural change. It’s the roaring ‘20s. There are people drinking and boozin’ and jazzin’ and dancing! It’s about youth and women in that time period rebelling against the paths laid out for them and this plan of how women are supposed to be.  It’s about finding their own individual identities. It’s also a pre-cursor to the great depression, which we found relevant when pairing it with the Occupy play.

The second play is Performing Occupy Toronto, which was written and put together by Rosamund Small and directed by myself. It’s a verbatim show. The script was taken word for word from real-life interviews and footage that Rosamund retrieved when she was at the occupation rallies last year. She sorted through thirty hours of footage to put the play together. It’s not like a lot of Verbatim plays where it’s just monologues of people who were interviewed. None of the words are changed but Rosamund is actually a character in the play. The writer is almost like a guide, kind of like a liaison to help the audience really understand the Occupation. The show is about hundreds of people and we only have just fewer than twenty actors so they all play between five to ten characters each. It’s a very ensemble based show.

Both of these shows together are really interesting, and although they deal with very different subject matter, they both deal with rebellion and finding your own identity. From long before the 1920s until now, there is this struggle of people wanting to find themselves and be heard in a society that has your path laid out for you.

HS: So this company was founded in 2008 and is currently in its fourth season. As a company of young artists, tell me about how Docket Theatre was formed?

LJ: Well, it actually started as just a group of friends wanting to put on a play that Rosamund wrote. The founding members all went to Rosedale Heights, an arts high school where we all met. When we graduated and went to different universities and colleges, we wanted a way to keep us together so we decided to put on a show.

Since then we’ve had three seasons and are now onto our fourth. The first two were really low-key, just scraping by with people in the cast putting in their own money for the down payment then just getting reimbursed after ticket sales.

Last year, however, was really when we took the name Docket Theatre and we organized the hell out of ourselves. We began to find a template through which we could really get the theatre company off the ground. We moved to The Papermill Theatre in the Broadview and Danforth area. It’s a beautiful theatre in an old historic building in the Don Valley where we produced One Man Show, also written by Evan O’Donnell. This show was definitely the most complicated and tech-heavy show we had attempted, utilizing a lot of multimedia – videos, illustrations, that sort of thing. Last year, we grew in terms of the scale of the show we put on as well as our ambition with the kind of theatre we wanted to produce.

This season, we talked all year and prepared to put on our first double bill with  A Farewell Party andPerforming Occupy Toronto. When we received the submissions, it was at the same time where we wanted to make more socially relevant theatre, so I would say that now, in our fourth season, we have a much stronger idea of what our mandate is and of how we want to move forward as a relevant young theatre company.

Some of the Core Members of Docket Theatre

HS: Four years is pretty impressive for such a young theatre company. How would you say the Docket has evolved since its inception?

LJ: I would say the main evolution has been with the growth of the artists that were involved and the focus of the company. We know what we want now. People often form a company so they can put on a play and then they disband it. That’s how we started, but what really holds a company together is finding that common goal and common passion. For us it was realizing that we wanted to make more socially relevant, original theatre – something that spoke to the youth and to the people of Toronto. We’re already in discussion with some different people that want to put their plays on and are asking Docket if we would do that. So I think in the future we’ll be open to expanding and producing more playwrights’ work through larger seasons. We’ve just been growing exponentially in our size and in our resources so who even knows what’s going to happen next year.

HS: That’s exciting! On that note, in a time where more and more young artists must produce their own work, and many new young companies are starting up, have you found it difficult to stand out amongst the rest?

LJ: I feel comfortable that we are unique and that people are recognizing the work that we are doing. It’s not that we need the validation, it’s that we see people wanting to work with us and they want to see the shows we are producing and come to our events and fundraisers. Since we have around forty people involved, they all have friends that are doing other things in the city, be it other programs or are in other independent companies, so there’s this networking effect that naturally happens when you support other people’s shows and they support you. That’s why I’m really glad that websites like In the Greenroom exists and that companies like Mnemonic Theatre who are creating a theatre directory are around. It’s great when there are people trying to connect these theatre companies and utilize the fact that we are all in this together, you know? I think what we’re doing at Docket is very exciting, unique and relevant and although we’ve only been Docket Theatre for two years, we already have a following. Hopefully it just continues to expand from there.

HS: Have you found any challenges with funding, which seems to always be the major issue with the arts in Toronto?

LJ: Mainly what’s hard in Toronto is just getting butts in the seats. I mean you can get people to go toBring it On: The Musical where they charge a hundred dollars a ticket and they sell out, but it’s almost impossible to get a hundred people to come see your show for one night which would practically pay for the venue. I mean you literally have CEOs running these giant companies like Mirvish where it’s a “for-profit” company and we just want to float. We’re not even getting paid. I think that’s the most challenging part being a small company.

Creatively I’m very fulfilled but the administrative stuff kind of bogs me down because there’s just no money for it. The grants are so complicated. It’s hard, we are in a difficult spot where half of us are still students and half are graduates so we technically have too many students involved to be eligible for grants and too many graduates to be eligible for student funding.  We are really looking forward to when we are all graduated, and can hopefully start applying for grants to financially help us to do what we want.

HS:  The Occupy Movement dominated media attention last fall. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t have an opinion on the matter. What is it like working on a show with subject matter that can be so polarizing?

LJ: Yes, it’s actually been an incredible experience and it’s been one that’s actually been quite difficult to navigate. Before it even began, Rozy made it very clear to me that it was not an Occupy artist show, and that she was not a part of the movement and that the play does not take on either side. It does not explicitly criticize the movement just as it does not explicitly endorse it either. It literally is just performing it. Both sides are represented, the good and the bad of what happened in Toronto from October to November. The people who were the who uprooted their lives and were so passionate and fed up with the way that the world had been running that this is the way they rebelled. So it was incredible in the first place to know that I could not let my own politics get involved though I definitely have my own thoughts about it. The Occupy movement was very controversial because it’s not like all left wing people agree with it and all right wing people don’t. It kept transforming as it progressed. It wasn’t just a protest, it was a community developing.

When the Occupy first started I went out a lot to see what was happening to support it. My politics are really in line with it and I personally agree with a lot of it. But the way that it developed with the bureaucracy that evolved within it, from what I saw, the whole movement seemed to turn into a very white, male, hetero-centered movement, which was surprising to me. So I found it interesting that these patterns in our society perpetuate even in a community rebelling against that very thing.

It’s pretty hard to not let my politics get in the way but beyond that, we have the strangest kind of rag-tag group of actors from all different backgrounds with very different views. My assistant director Vivien spent a lot of time navigating that. We needed to make sure that the show wasn’t about everybody’s views. It is about playing these characters and telling their stories.

HS: I heard something about taking the cast to a protest. Can you speak a little more about that?

Core Member – Jared Bishop Amongst the Crowd at the May Day March

LJ: Right off the bat when we started there was the yearly  May Day march on May 1st, which is the international workers day organized by No one Is Illegal, Occupy Toronto and other activist groups. It was a huge protest and march, so I got the cast to come and participate. It was an opportunity where they could experience a giant march and what it was like to be in the environment that the play creates. Most of them had never been in a protest before and therefore had no visceral experience for it. I told them not to be embarrassed or shy and to just treat it like it was an improv. Go with the chants and go along with the march. It was  incredible to see them transform. They  felt so liberated and felt so much more prepared to play these characters. They had experienced a rush of being united in a group of people even though there were varying beliefs amongst us.

HS: Do you think it will be hard for an audience to put their own biases aside?

LJ: Yes.  If audience members are coming to see the play, hopefully they can put their biases aside for an hour. If they hate Occupy, they’re probably not going to come and see this play but I would love for somebody who hated the movement to come so that they could see these protesters as people, you know? There are characters in the play that seem crazy and are there because they want to wear an astronaut suit and dance around or be in a drum circle. Then there are characters who are there because they want to change the world. Everyone was respected as a community and the interesting thing is that there was no hierarchical structure. No one was the leader, which there was also some controversy around.

Hopefully, for the audience that comes, they will see that this is a story of a group of people. There’s no protagonist or single story arc. The movement and the people themselves are the protagonist so I think it’s very different than the plays people often see. It’s more like a collage. It’s incredibly new and different. I hope it can make people think and stretch their perspective. I think that any good theatre leaves you talking or questioning in a way that you didn’t before.

HS: Going off of that, I hear you’re planning a sort of discussion panel after the show?

LJ: Yes! We are launching a discussion panel after our opening show at 9:30pm. It all started off when Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, got in touch with Rosamund after the Paprika Festival’s reading of Performing Occupy Toronto.  We got so excited and thought, “Well, why don’t we do a discussion panel that she could be a part of”. We had no idea if she would actually be able to take part because she is a very busy politician, but we wanted to hear a politician’s perspective on theatre in Toronto.

HS: Any hints as to who’s involved?

As of now we have Kate Lushington (the former Artistic Director of Nightwood Theatre), and Rob Kempson (current Artistic Director of the Paprika Festival and Associate Producer for Theatre Passe Muraille). There might be some more in store, we are waiting to hear back from a whole slew of artists, activists, and politicians that we’ve got in touch with. We are hoping to involve some sort of city counselor as well.

An Almost-Full Company Shot for Docket’s 2012 Season

HS: Where do you see Docket Theatre heading in the future?

LJ: To the moon. Ha ha, that’d be great. Theatre in space! We’ve been talking a lot about where we want to go from here. We are hoping to be active throughout the whole of next year. We want an ongoing dialogue with artists as well. I would like us to have a monthly meeting where we read original plays so the playwrights get to hear their work and actors get to keep active and read. We would discuss what worked, what didn’t and why we think the play is relevant. Hopefully it will help us keep that  creative spark going throughout the year. Next year we are going to produce our usual summer show and hopefully add a show in the winter if we get enough applications. We have the manpower to do it now! We’d love to do two different shows at different times and we eventually look forward to doing a season of shows.

Our big goal is to have one space to use as a hub for artists to practice original work, share their skills and what they learn. We’d love to put on acting, playwrighting, and even design workshops! Essentially, we hope to create a space for artists to nurture their skills and help develop their art. That’s our goal.