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Author Topic: Canadian Theatre
jrose
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 01 August 2008 06:51 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Stratford: Cool theatre for summer's parching heat

From rabble's front page:

quote:
“The Americans aren’t coming … the Americans aren’t coming!”

Canadian cultural institutions are feeling the strain of the downturn in the economy.

It’s not only the automotive industries and the towns in which they are centered in Ontario (Oshawa, Oakville, Windsor) that are feeling the pinch with regard to the rise in oil and gas prices and attendant layoffs by Ford (which recently posted a quarterly loss of $8.7 billion) and General Motors respectively. Now Ontario’s arts and cultural industries are suffering as well.

With fifteen productions running in four theatres, North America’s largest repertory theatre, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival (SSF), has recently announced that it will lose millions in box office revenue this year as a result of a projected 10 per cent decline in ticket sales for 2008. The lack of sales is placed primarily within the 35 to 40 per cent of tickets sold annually to American tourists. Down the road, at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Shaw Festival, the predictions are not quite so dire but there is still worry.

The irony is that both institutions are offering fresh and innovative productions that mark some of their strongest work in several seasons. Herewith are several capsule reviews for rabble readers who might be contemplating a visit.


I for one, just purchased tickets to Caesar and Cleopatra at Stratford in September (starring Christopher Plummer).

For those of you who are under 35, Stratford has some remarkable deals for what they consider "youth."

Ages 16-29 - $20.00 tickets (which is how much I paid for my tickets!)

Ages 30-35 - Up to 50% off.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
It's Me D
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 15152

posted 01 August 2008 10:53 AM      Profile for It's Me D     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As a fan of Canadian Theatre I don't have any interest in ever attending Stratford. Its a pity their attendance is down but it has very little to do with the state of Canadian Theatre since they don't perform Canadian works.

The Ship's Company Theatre here in Parrsboro is an excellent Canadian theatre which stages productions of Canadian plays. I've heard they are having a good summer but I wouldn't be surprised if the final count for attendance this season is down.

Theatres will have to produce more for local audiences in the future due to declining travel tourism. Personally I would say this is a very good thing.


From: Parrsboro, NS | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4140

posted 01 August 2008 11:09 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Winnipeg has a Fringe Festival as well as an ongoing series of of single playwright themed festivals in the winter, both of which are popular and well attended. There is a connection to the Manitoba Theatre Centre for both of these events; the MTC seems to have given birth to and continues to nourish both events.

I agree with promoting Canadian plays. But it is also important to promote Canadian actors and keep them employed in our own country.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
It's Me D
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 15152

posted 01 August 2008 11:14 AM      Profile for It's Me D     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But it is also important to promote Canadian actors and keep them employed in our own country.

Very true; I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. Even better than just subsidizing the employment of Canadian actors in the reproduction of the culture of our past and present imperial masters would be if Canadian government money was instead used to facilitate the production of more Canadian plays with Canadian actors however.


From: Parrsboro, NS | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
rabble-rouser
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posted 01 August 2008 11:22 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Both the Fringe Festival and the Winter Playwright Series (or whatever it is called, I will look it up) MTC MillerFest Master Playwrights Festival feature amateur and semi-professional actors. Of course, MTC itself has professional actors.

Are there Canadian trends in this regard?
______________________

BTW, the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre will present Arthur Miller's masterpiece Death of a Salesman in the upcoming MillerFest. It's part of a feast of Arthur Miller plays.
______________________

quote:
In the winter of 2001, MTC chose to honour Samuel Beckett at its first annual Master Playwright Festival. BeckettFest provided opportunities for both professional and emerging artists from a variety of organizations and independent companies to produce work under the umbrella of a larger festival. It also provided patrons with an opportunity to thoroughly immerse themselves in the work of a playwright who may not have a regular home on Winnipeg stages.

The inaugural event involved 15 Beckett works by 10 local companies in eight venues. Since then, MTC has presented BrechtFest (2002), PinterFest (2003), AlbeeFest (2004), TremblayFest (2005), O'NeillFest (2006), StoppardFest (2007) and MametFest (2008).

This season, we are celebrating the work of Arthur Miller and are proud to present MillerFest 2009.


Master Playwright Festival

[ 01 August 2008: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 01 August 2008 11:52 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am very happy to report that Scorched, by Lebanese-Canadian Wajdi Mouawad, will be performed in Winnipeg this November. Robert Fisk even wrote about the play.
From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
jrose
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 01 August 2008 11:58 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by N.Beltov:
Winnipeg has a Fringe Festival as well as an ongoing series of of single playwright themed festivals in the winter, both of which are popular and well attended. There is a connection to the Manitoba Theatre Centre for both of these events; the MTC seems to have given birth to and continues to nourish both events.

I agree with promoting Canadian plays. But it is also important to promote Canadian actors and keep them employed in our own country.


Hamilton's Fringe Festival is coming very, very soon.

http://www.hamiltonfringe.ca/


From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 01 August 2008 12:11 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Fringe Festivals are great exercises in democratic culture. Babblers should do some homework and investigate.

The first Fringe play I witnessed was one performed in 1982 by the Hit and Run Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland - the birthplace of Fringe Festivals. A van drove up, a theatre troop jumped out (temporarily blocking the street), they performed their play, and then they made their getaway in the van. Total time: less than 5 minutes.

It might have been a robbery or a police kidnapping. Fortunately, it was neither.

[ 01 August 2008: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
It's Me D
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posted 01 August 2008 12:45 PM      Profile for It's Me D     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The first Fringe play I witnessed was one performed in 1982 by the Hit and Run Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland

My first Fringe Festival was Edinburgh as well! In more recent years I've seen some very good works at the Halifax Fringe. I agree about the Fringe benefits Beltov , and they are an excellent way for aspiring Canadian playwrights to get their work performed and gain exposure; and they are great entertainment.

[ 01 August 2008: Message edited by: It's Me D ]


From: Parrsboro, NS | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged
Farmpunk
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posted 01 August 2008 05:24 PM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For whatever reason I never think to hit all the good theatre - from Stratford to Hammy and London fringe fests - availible. It's dumb on my part, because I enjoy fun theatre.

I have hit some of the Calgary series. Can't remember the name. Little venues. Short plays, usually with music, intimate.

Seems to me that theatre has always been a tough sell, to refer back to the rabble column.


From: SW Ontario | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
It's Me D
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posted 01 August 2008 05:48 PM      Profile for It's Me D     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Seems to me that theatre has always been a tough sell, to refer back to the rabble column.

With regards to the column I agree that the sort of theatre produced at Stratford has always been a hard sell to the common prole. Thats because it isn't writen for working class people. There is however a lot of good Canadian theatre for the masses, which I do not think is a hard sell; that would include much of the good work at the aforementioned Fringe festivals. This is the theatre I personally enjoy; it resonates with me in a way Shakespeare never could.

[ 01 August 2008: Message edited by: It's Me D ]


From: Parrsboro, NS | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged
RosaL
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Babbler # 13921

posted 01 August 2008 06:15 PM      Profile for RosaL     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by It's Me D:

There is however a lot of good Canadian theatre for the masses, which I do not think is a hard sell; that would include much of the good work at the aforementioned Fringe festivals.
[ 01 August 2008: Message edited by: It's Me D ]


There may very well be good theatre for the masses but the masses don't attend. At least not "the masses" I know. Maybe it depends what you mean by "the masses" - I don't associate "the masses" and "the fringe", for example. (note: I am including myself in "the masses".)


From: the underclass | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged
It's Me D
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 15152

posted 02 August 2008 12:49 AM      Profile for It's Me D     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
There may very well be good theatre for the masses but the masses don't attend. At least not "the masses" I know. Maybe it depends what you mean by "the masses" - I don't associate "the masses" and "the fringe", for example. (note: I am including myself in "the masses".)

Its a difficult comment to reply to, as I can only point to my own experience rather than to satistics, but the Halifax Fringe is extremely accessible theatre, both in its format, its contents, and (significantly) its pricing. It is clearly meant (as far as I can see) to be, as Beltov said, an excercise in democratic culture; that includes the playwrights, actors, and directors and the audience (which is arrived at more democratically than that of an elite classical theatre performance at, for example, Halifax's Neptune theatre). I don't know if that gets across my meaning very well but I tried


From: Parrsboro, NS | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged

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