Group Hopes to Strengthen Community Through Communication
It’s always great when likeminded groups pool their strength for the good of the collective, especially when it comes to the arts. Drive, passion and extreme dedication to the craft can sometimes result in poor communication. It’s an all too familiar story as artists work tirelessly on their own projects and sometimes lose focus or simply forget to keep an eye out for what’s going on in the surrounding community.
Fredericton’s theatre community suffered some minor setbacks this past fall with overlapping weekend productions – sometimes three or four happening on the same day – resulting in less than desirable turnouts across the board. This prompted Branch Out Productions Artistic Director Ben Harrison to find a way to avoid such catastrophic curtain calls in the future. With this in mind, The Fredericton Community Theatre Co-op was born.
“The idea came to me after I produced a show in October only to realize there were three other shows happening in the city on the same weekend,” said Harrison. “I’ve counted and have come up with over a dozen other theatre companies here in town and believe the heart of community theatre really should be the aspect of community.”
At the moment, the co-op exists as an online group but Harrison hopes to see his idea grow into a helpful resource for all city theatre groups. There have already been some positive outcomes.
“At the moment, we’re just a Facebook group where members can share events,” he said. “I try and post some interesting articles and facilitate some conversations. I’ve had a few meetings with folks from other companies and we are working on hosting a few workshops and hopefully a meet and greet so everyone can get acquainted with each other this spring. I’m hoping that through this group we will find ways to grow our art by working together, sharing resources, opening doors for training possibilities and avoiding schedule pile ups.”
So far, interest from the theatre community has been really positive with over 140 members already joined in the conversation. Production announcements spanning high school productions to larger, more established theatre groups have already started popping up.
“I do hope it develops,” said Harrison. “I would love to see a place with print resources and a script perusal library. We have a need for affordable rehearsal space in this city. I think these are some of our achievable short-term goals. I also hope to become more of a hub for ‘All things theatre’ online. As the digital universe grows it’s hard to find a sure place to get information about programming out to the masses. I’m hoping we can become that place.”
Check out The Fredericton Community Theatre Co-op and consider attending one of several theatre shows happening in Fredericton this month.
Willy Wonka | Branch Out Productions | February 5-7, 2015 | More Info
Loserville | Leo Hayes High School Drama | February 11-14, 2015 | More Info
Live Audio Workshops Series | Next Folding Theatre Company | February 11, 2015 | More Info
Rabbit Hole | Theatre UNB | February 18-21, 2016 | More Info
Spring Awakening | STU Musical Theatre | February 18-21, 2015 | More Info
Beaverbrook | Theatre New Brunswick | February 27-28, 2015 | More Info