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As the daylight hours get shorter, so too, do the days left in my honeymoon phase with GCTC. I have been employing the "I'm new" response in every conceivable situation since arriving here last month, but I know that I will not be able to rely on that trick much longer. To everyone who insists upon asking me, "Well, are you settling in?" I can categorically say, no, I am not settling in. In fact, the last thing that I want to do is to settle in. Settling in implies a certain comfort that is not part of the artistic director DNA. I arrived here in a state of excitement and I want to maintain that for as long as possible. To that end, I have been attending every event possible, with a clear goal of meeting Ottawa's artistic community. After six weeks, although I am starting to see many of the same faces, it is clear that I am still just scratching the surface of Ottawa's creative scene.
In addition to the actual events that I have been attending (note to self: tonight is the Rideau Awards. Press shirt before leaving home) I am readinging a mountain of scripts for consideration in 2013/14 and beyond. Coming from a rural and predominantly conservative theatre constituency, I feel as though someone has knocked down the fences and increased my grazing range by thousands of hectares. Although I was able to move the aesthetic of the Blyth Festival (my previous position) into new territory for the venerable summer theatre, there still existed an invisible boundary line beyond which, I could not push without repercussion. And artists are made to push. I am now reveling in reading diverse and challenging scripts with the very real possibility of producing the work at GCTC. Lest anyone worry that I am talking about gratuitous shock value, rest assured that my priority is to engage an audience - not to dis-engage it. I want to find work that is thoughtful, energetic and politically-driven, but all in the realm of hope. Theatre without hope is not interesting, as it represents an intellectual and spiritual dead end. My goal is to keep moving forward.
Thanks for supporting GCTC. Please do not be shy about contacting me or saying hello when you're at the theatre. I am very happy to meet more of Ottawa at every opportunity.