The impact and the import of the arts
"Oh, I've known you for years," said Andy, after I introduced myself.
While we've probably never had a conversation, it became abundantly clear that he had seen me on the Keyano Theatre stage multiple times over the years, which, combined with the other aspects of my very public life, probably made it feel like I was completely familiar.
"I've been a Keyano Theatre subscriber for over 20 years," he shared.
He pulled out my performance as Tom Joad in 1998's production of The Grapes of Wrath as one of his favourites, a show directed by one of Alberta's most respected theatre artists, Maralyn Ryan. It was also my first opportunity to work with Citizen Ruth (Francoeur) and her husband Norm, a cultural couple who recently moved away from our community.
"Of all the shows you've seen, is there one or two that stand out?" I asked.
|Jesus Christ Superstar, 2001|
It was so nice to see that Keyano Theatre productions were woven into the fabric of Andy's Fort McMurray life, adding richness, meaning, and entertainment for over two decades.
I had a similar experience last night as Heather and I were saying our goodbyes after enjoying a tremendous visit at Scott and Marjorie Sullivan's annual Christmas reception. Scott is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Syncrude Canada. Originally from Pennsylvania, Scott's authenticity and community commitment hearkens back to those halcyon days when Eric Newell and Jim Carter were leading this incredible company.
We were about to descend into the front foyer to retrieve our shoes and coats when we bumped into my good friend (and recent Opa [Grandpa]) Leroy van Wieran chatting with Syncrude's Fred Payne and his lovely wife. They shared that they have been Keyano Theatre Company subscribers for 27 years! But they've also been great supporters of interPLAY and WinterPLAY, sharing some lovely thoughts about what those events have meant to them and to our community.
|The Zoo Story, 2009, with Kenny Jones|
|Romeo and Juliet, 2002|
|Simon-Marc de Freitas, Sarah Neiman, and Cara Brown|
From watching the deft hands of Simon to seeing the joy in the face of Cara, from listening to the perfect harmonies to watching the personal passions of all the performers, it was a stirring evening and a reminder, once again, of the impact and the import of the arts in our lives.
|Inventory of Arts & Culture Facilities in the MDP|
Direction 5.2 from the Municipal Development Plan
"Arts and culture are major contributors to quality of life. A heightened quality of life shapes, defines, and enriches a region making it easier to attract and retain long-term residents. It begins with arts and cultural infrastructure comprising a variety of facilities, programs, and services, and balances major public institutions with privately-operated enterprises."