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Years ago I heard a story about a young broadcaster who spent an entire university semester sending a late night show out from the campus radio station, only to discover that the transmitter was turned off every night before he took to the airwaves. The show lived in his mind, but nowhere else. This is the secret fear that I harbor as I take my turn on the GCTC blog. The fear is entirely unfounded, however, as several GCTC supporters have commented that they did indeed read my early contributions to the site. Still, I want to see if this can turn into something that contributes to your relationship with GCTC in a deeper way.
I’m writing this entry just after participating in a career-day panel at Algonquin College, where the second-year theatre students heard stories to curdle the blood from a group of theatre professionals. Twenty-six years have passed since I was in their position, but the mysteries of theatre are still as compelling to me today as they were in 1986. Last night in our studio theatre, we convened GCTC’s 4th Annual Backyard BBQ – an opportunity for Ottawa theatre practitioners of all stripes to gather and exchange ideas, debate contentious topics, have a drink and trade some gossip. The BBQ is typically held in someone’s backyard during warm weather, but my late arrival to the city forced us to move indoors. My arrival also managed to dictate a different approach to the event. I want to learn everything that I can about GCTC’s relationship to the artists who work in this city. To that end, I asked the participants to engage in a group discussion about the community itself and its unusual hybrid of professional and amateur practice. I asked them to state their hopes for GCTC, their fears, their opinions on attracting audiences, and the ways in which GCTC contributes to the overall health of Ottawa’s theatre scene.
The responses were varied and enlightening, giving me a chance to see GCTC through the eyes of local artists: an essential experience for an import. Now, it’s your turn. I am eager for your feedback. I want to know how you relate to this company and the work that we produce. I am hoping to convene an information sharing event for our patrons, similar to the BBQ model. In the meantime, however, I ask you to send me questions or concerns that I can address through this blog. I want to know that I’m not like that poor student, sending his message no farther than the studio where he sat alone, secure in his belief that the masses were huddled around radios, listening to his every word. In short, I’m taking requests. You send me the topic and I’ll blog about it.:
The first person to send me a topic will be my guest at the GCTC lobby bar for a glass of his or her choice on the opening night of Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box. I eagerly await your thoughts.