To live and work within the arts community is to exist in a constant state of evolution, revolution and resolution. At 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.
How well I know how fortunate we are to have the universe unfolding for us with major elements of support in place from the Canada Council for the Arts, from our province with the NLAC and CEDP, and from our City of St. John’s. These are the enviable blocks upon which we build our strengths.
We recently finished a major school tour with our new show for young people: The Ogre’s Purse. Under the direction of Artistic Associate Nicole Rousseau, this flavourful buffet of cool characters, puppetry and story-telling electrified patrons of all ages. Philip Goodridge’s fantastical play is destined to be a perennial family event. This play landed on our desks over three years ago, with the playwright seeking dramaturgical and writing support. Since then there have been workshops, readings, intense writing and rewriting sessions guided by dramaturg Rory Lambert, with the production itself being an integral step in the ongoing development of the piece.
Similarly, Jerry’d Alive! hits the stage at the LSPU Hall in May of 2014 after a considerable gestation period. Written and performed by Susan Kent, this is her sequel to the cult classic Nan Loves Jerry. We aren’t surprised that the rest of the country loves Susan as much as we do for her work on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. She is once again in the capable hands of her friend and director Sherri White for the RCA production which sees Jerry in a new phase of life and enlightenment.
This is an especially exciting time for RCA. We are able to work with the Canadian Arts Presentation Fund through Canadian Heritage to bring an additional three presentations to the Hall, two from our own province and one from elsewhere in the country. Art, Stars in the Sky Morning and Blue Box are each as different from the other as night from day. Art is a C2C production, Stars in the Sky Morning is from Bare Boards Theatre, and Blue Box is from Nightswimming Theatre.
As the submissions, ideas and queries pour in 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 our 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 the 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 team into a production, contracting dramaturgs to work with writers, and on and on and on, with our community partners like ExxonMobil Canada, Vale, Newfoundland Power, Nalcor, EC Boone and Cox & Palmer that we animate our community. The list of community partners goes on and for that we are grateful.
It’s been 12 years for me 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