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Everyone should have the opportunity to be the new kid on the block at least once in a career. I am enjoying this moment in some entirely unexpected ways. For the last ten years, I have worked as the artistic director of the Blyth Festival, situated in the heart of rural Southwestern Ontario. Life in the village is quiet – the kind of quiet that amplifies every voice on the street. It got so that I could tell who was passing outside without glancing up from the desk. In this context, the corner of Wellington West and Holland is like Times Square and Piccadilly Circus, rolled into one. And I am in love with the sounds, the sights, the smells and the constant movement of this neighborhood.
I worry that this sounds disingenuous to you – that you may suspect I’m putting on the country bumpkin naiveté to create an endearing persona. Nope. This is what I am experiencing right here, right now, and because I am a theatre artist, I am hardwired to reflect it back to you. That, in a nutshell, is my job. Whether the story at hand is my own path from a rural festival to Ottawa, or whether it is the tale of the two Irish home care workers in Fly Me to the Moon, it is my role to share my impressions and draw connections between our various lives.
Thank you to all who have welcomed me to GCTC. I have met volunteers, subscribers, sponsors, staff, artists and board members who have all greeted my arrival with generosity and warmth. I have observed the same thing in all of these groups: a genuine passion for the company and its mission to create excellent theatre. This is an audience that is ready to engage in genuine critical discourse. The volunteers have invested years of service to the organization. The staff and artists are all intensely proud of the work onstage. And the board members are energetic, well-informed and dedicated to their roles as advocates not only for GCTC, but for theatre as an integral art form.
I am looking forward to blogging regularly on this site. Already I am suppressing the urge to write about all the different joys of moving here, but these stories can wait. If you are a devoted fan of GCTC and you want to know more about my impressions of the company or where I came from, please let me know. I want to know this audience and the only way that will happen is if we open up a conversation.
Again, thank you for the warm welcome to Ottawa. It is my extraordinary pleasure and privilege to join the Great Canadian Theatre Company.