written and submitted by Jennifer Inglis July 30, 2021
Live entertainment (theatre, music, dance, and art shows) is back. After sitting in the dark for 12+ months, the lights are coming back on at stages, studios and rehearsal halls. As CCT’s Production Manager, I wondered when we’d be back in the theatre standing backstage waiting for the house lights to fade to black, a hush to fall over the audience, and for that first cue to usher a performer on stage as the rush of opening night nerves and excitement floods through them. Yet here we all are planning for opening nights.
The most important thing we need is you. We need your support.
Be in the audience. Go see plays put on by your local high school, community, semi-professional, or professional theatres. Sure, you may see some cringe worthy performances, but you may also be lucky enough to be caught up in story that for two hours lets you forget that your partner is at your apartment packing up their stuff. Go see your second cousin’s son’s ballet recitals. You’ll be amazed how that skinny kid suddenly turns into a nimble athlete with a Grand Jete that get some serious airtime. Buy tickets to your friend’s slam poetry reading, go to your co-worker’s free indie folk duo concert in the park. Attend art shows at your local gallery or artists co-op. If you can, buy a piece of art or pottery. Pick up that indie folk duo’s CD for the one song that reminded you of the carefree golden summer between high school and university.
Engage with creators. If you get the chance to meet and talk with musicians, artists, dancers, chorographers, actors, directors etc. take it. Let them know you enjoyed their work, if you didn’t, then at least thank them for a great night out. Ask them about what they do, their process, how they got started? Check out their website and follow them on social media. If you can hire them for a project or professional development day, do it. Take a class they’re offering. You may realize that you’re better at painting walls than bowls of fruit, but you’ll gain an appreciation for colour and perspective. Learn how to waltz or cha-cha. You may find a new hobby as a ballroom dancer, make lifelong friends, and get to wear some great dance outfits. Family and friends tell you that you have great comedic timing, then sign up for an improv workshop.
Volunteer your time. This is a big one because time is a precious commodity, but local art councils, music festivals, and theatres need volunteers. They need people who can out organize Marie Kondo. Remember when you took that art class and you realized your better at painting walls, well the walls in a historic building that’s a theatre/dance studio need touching up. Can you write a killer grant or sponsorship proposal? Arts and culture organizations NEED your writing skill.! They need people who geek out over Excel spreadsheets and know that a pivot table is not a dance move that involves a piece of furniture. They need people who can look at a sketch on a napkin and turn it into King Henry V’s England where for a Muse of fire we might cram within a wooden O the very casques that did affright the air at Agincourt! But pardon gentles all, I get a little excited when talking about how important you all are to the success of arts and culture in your community.
You don’t need to rush out and do any of this right away, unless the lines from the opening of Henry V inspired you…then go for it. You might be feeling a little anxious about being around a lot of other people, understandable, take your time, continue to enjoy virtual options, mix in some smaller in-person events, and enjoy the show.
Jennifer Inglis has been involved with Cranbrook Community Theatre since 2004. She has a background in theatre and communications. When she’s not at the theatre, Jennifer spends time with her husband, her family, reading books, and trying to stay upright on her paddle board.