Sandra on Scene: Ichthys Theatre AGM & Theatre Venues
Brantford’s Community Theatre companies are Gypsies. At least that is the word that ICHTHYS Theatre’s Artistic Director Lorna Stratton fondly uses to describe the current situation of the “homeless” groups.
ICHTHYS is in the same boat as the others as it struggles to find suitable venues that are affordable and have all the amenities they need to perform their work. Most situations such as, schools, churches, community centres, outdoor venues, are not ideal because they are not dedicated specifically to the performance arts.
This space would be multi-purpose for Theatre, Concerts, Dance Recitals, Presentations and more. The first round table was planned for March 2nd from 4-6 pm in the Sanderson Centre Lobby. They are looking for input from the community in terms of company and individual usage along with potential audience needs.
Stratton is a member of this Task Force and invited vice chair City Councilor Cheryl Antoski, and Cultural Advisory Committee chair, Vern Payne, to ICHTHYS’ Annual General Meeting, (AGM) the morning of February 20, Glenhyrst Art Gallery, 20 Ava Rd, Brantford, ON, to have an Open Forum with those in attendance. Refreshments were provided by The Golden Teapot Tearoom.
Antoski said although she is not from a theatre background she requested to be part of the Task Force because she noticed an unbalance in the City. “Not everyone is a sports person,” she says.
Payne, a retired educator says he is part of it because, “I understand that Drama plays an important role for economic development.”
The Task Force is meeting with all performance groups in the city so they can present the need for a mid sized performance facility to City Council.
There was talk about whether a petition would be effective and all were urged to write to their city councilor.
Marion Smith, a member of the Western Ontario Drama League for 38 years had some important questions on behalf of the theatre community:
“Is this venue to be for the use of Amateur community theatre? Will it include amateur choirs, band and dance groups etc.
Who will own the building? The City? Theatre members? A private company?
Who will run the business of this facility? A board of directors or the membership? Paid theatre facility manager? Paid business manager? City employee?
How will the funding for the purchase of the building and theatre facilities be raised? Which art companies will be officially included in the partnership?
If owned by the city, how much say will the member theatre companies have in the running of the venue?”
Bruce Farley, a member of ICHTHYS and lead in its first play of the 2016 season, The Other Noise, suggested that when the Task Force makes a presentation to council, all the politics are taken care of first. “We need to get them to believe that there is so much interest in this that you get their attention,” he says.
One thing that became clear from the discussion is that the Task Force needs to go to city council with all questions answered before they can be asked and that all of the City’s Community Theatre groups need to work together in order for this much needed mid-sized theatre to become a reality.
The Task Force, besides theatre groups, also needs to hear from choral, instrumental, spoken word, taletelling, dance, and other performing arts groups currently operating in the area.
After the Open Forum discussion, ICHTHYS took care of business with its treasurers reports, artistic director reports and more.
The Theatre group’s 2016 season began with The Other Noise written and directed by Martin Smith performed at the Gord Paynter Theatre the last weekend of February and first weekend of March.
It is followed by the School Touring Show, which will be written by the cast and directed by Lorna Stratton in a performance window of April 11 to 21.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and Jeff Hatcher, Directed by Kate Elwood, June 3-5 and 10-12, Gord Paynter Theatre.
Drama Camp (new this year) Directed by Lorna Stratton and Jess Hamilton, August 8-12 and 15-19 Friendship House of Brant.
The Left of Centre Festival, August 26-28, Friendship House of Brant.
And the big fall show Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, November 18 to 20 and 25 to 27, 2016.
ICHTHYS Partner Participation Projects are:
Brantford Scare in the Square
Glenhyrst Arts Day
Brant Performing Arts Season Launch during Culture Days Canada
2016 ICHTHYS Memberships are $30.
The group also has a new sponsorship strategy called The Stand-Out Kids Scene (SOKS) that defines different sponsoring level opportunities for the School Touring Show and the Drama Camp.
FaceBook: Ichthys Theatre
Submitted by: Sandra L. Anderson
To see more of her work, please visit: Sandlyn Publishing