To live and work within the arts community is to exist in a constant state of evolution, revolution and resolution. At Resource Centre for the Arts (RCA) we understand that the formulation of the idea and the process of creation are equally as important as the so-called ‘final’ production, even though we know that in theatre nothing is ever static or finite. That is why at any given time RCA has a myriad of artists and projects in flow, all in various stages of evolution. We are the reflecting pool of what is happening within the professional theatre community, in that we are a unique artist driven theatre company. We do not compel a predetermined concept but rather we are continuously guided by the creators we serve. As the Artistic Animateur, I see myself as The Keeper of the Gate. I simultaneously occupy both sides of the ‘desk’. On the one hand I listen to and channel the needs of the many artists we hear from. On the other hand I then seek out the ways and means to ignite those fires of artistic passion. And then, on the ‘third’ hand, we strive to nourish our audiences, constantly building the numbers of our loyal and eclectic patrons.
RCA exists to encourage and promote the performing arts in Newfoundland and Labrador and in St. John’s in particular, and to assist in the growth of the arts in the province. How well I know how fortunate we are to have the universe unfolding for us with essential elements of support in place from the Canada Council for the Arts, from our province with the NL Arts Council and CEDP, and from our City of St. John’s. These are the enviable blocks upon which we build our strengths.
The RCA 2014-15 Season promises to be a smorgasbord of exciting and eclectic productions and development of new plays. In January we will produce the world premiere of Berni Stapleton's whimsical, comical and nostalgic play Brazil Square. Mrs. Kent's Boarding House leads us on a mouthwatering tour through the decades as the boarding house district comes alive on stage. The crazy characters, the proprietors, the politics and changing times revolve around one Mrs. Kent, brilliantly played by the incomparable Petrina Bromley with a supporting cast of four of our best actors taking on over 16 characters. You'll feel just like one of the boarders and your soul will be singing for salt fish with potatoes and drawn butter when you visit our Brazil Square. I will bend my own comedic will to this production as director and am thrilled to be paying homage to what once was the heart of our city.
With assistance through the Canadian Arts Presentation Fund, RCA will present Catherine Banks’ Governor General Award Winning play It is Solved by Walking starring Newfoundland actor/filmmaker Ruth Lawrence in October. In December Aiden Flynn performs his Christmas Classic Penning the Carol adapted from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol; and in February Spoiled Child Saves the Polar Bears written and performed by Katherine Sanders brings us on a fantastical and bizarre journey riding the issue of global warming.
RCA Theatre Company currently has several new plays in development that reflect our rich and diverse culture. One project in particular that we are working on is a new play by playwright Ed Riche and dramaturg/director Charlie Tomlinson called Dedication. The play is inspired by the 1924 visit to Newfoundland of Field Marshall Earl Douglas Haig, the so called “Butcher of the Somme” to dedicate the Newfoundland National War Memorial in St. John’s. Dedication has been in development for close to a year now with plans to produce and tour it in the Fall of 2017, the third year of the national WW1 commemorative celebrations. You can however follow the progression of play’s development as we invite to public to readings after week long workshops in April and September 2015.
As the submissions, ideas and queries pour in from our artists and are thoughtfully considered by our Programming Committee we rely ever increasingly upon our Corporate Partners. ExxonMobil Canada is our integral Platinum partner, a true star in the RCA Constellation. The functions of RCA can be compared to the structure of an iceberg. ExxonMobil Canada understands that the spectacular ten percent which is seen above water could not be appreciated without the ninety percent which is unseen and mysterious, but without which there would be no majesty. Whether mentoring emerging directors through the opportunity to develop their work through our Second Space Series, offering a playwright a reading and a writing stipend, inviting actors to participate in paid workshop sessions, bringing designers and technicians together with directors and playwrights, launching a full production team into a production, contracting dramaturgs (playwright’s editors) to work with writers, and on and on and on, with our community partners like ExxonMobil Canada, Vale, Newfoundland Power, Nalcor, A. Harvey and Company, EC Boone and Cox & Palmer we animate our performing arts community. The list of community partners goes on and for that we are grateful.
As Artistic Animateur and I constantly feel the urgency of so much yet to do. We evolve in tandem with our community and so the demands are always changing with the times. I am extremely grateful for the support of our community and frankly, also for the challenges of our community. Theatre is not without risk or criticism, and I know my fellow artists will nod and smile at this and perhaps sigh, because we are always the most critical of ourselves. This is why all of our funders and corporate partners are priceless because they understand that building theatre, like building relationships and partnerships, takes time, patience and perseverance. We must be allowed to rebel, revel, fail, prevail, and luxuriate in our incredible artistic freedom at RCA to do all of these things and more.
Join me on this incredible journey, both the seen and unseen by being an audience member, contributing artist, funder or sponsor. Do you have your Hall Pass yet? Check it out http://www.rca.nf.ca/pages.aspx?id=62
Amy House, Artistic Animateur