Amateur theatre is alive and well and cautiously optimist to be back to pre-pandemic levels starting in January, according to Meaford Theatre Company director Kim Ransom.
“We are back up and running and getting into gear. Not full gear yet, but every week there is another chunk of planning and activity,” he said. “We held our first planning meeting in mid-November and I was blown away, there were 20-25 people, some with a long history with the company who are keen to get back together but also new people, new to the area, new to theatre, and keen to act.
“We have artists, musicians, people with little or no experience as actors who bring talent and energy and a willingness to learn. Then we have people who have been in theatre for decades, here or with other theatre groups in Southern Ontario. We have a highly recommended actor who is new to the area, successful script writers, graduates of college courses, and our core group of people who are experienced in various roles.”
The theatre company had settled into a permanent home in Woodford Hall only a few months before the pandemic lockdowns started. “Everything we need is here now,” Ransom said. “No more building sets in people’s driveways. Lighting, sound, sets…. all of that is here in the hall.”
The company is offering two workshops starting in January, one for adults and one for youth ages 12-16 years, both designed to introduce people to the world of theatre, from script writing to acting, to building sets, directing, staging, voice, characterization, and movement. “At the end of the 12 weeks, the adults will be working toward mini productions with simple sets that they develop individually or in teams, with someone to coach them with the lighting and sound. The youth will be working on a production. Script writing will be an integral part of the 12 weeks.
“The workshops are meant to be an introduction to theatre in a fun, collaborative way. I hope people will come through feeling comfortable on stage, so that when we put out a call for actors, they will want to come and be part of it.”
A call is out for actors for a May/June production of Ladies Foursome, a play by Norm Foster. As well, the company is looking for four females for a May production and a music director and three strong female singers for a summer or fall production.
“Our primary objective is theatre productions,” Ransom said. “However, Woodford Hall is a community hall and we want to revive that feeling of community centred around the hall. We would entertain the idea of activities that fall within our mandate of cultural enrichment, such as square dancing, or line dancing. We could offer an evening of square dancing when people learn the various moves, and have an evening of square dancing. Maybe that is a bit out there but that is just one of a number of opportunities that certainly fall within our mandate.”
“Meaford Theatre Company is a volunteer-based group. The Meaford Culture Foundation, the municipality, and Canadian Tire are our three major sponsors. We have a plethora of sponsors many of whom are small local contractors who have donated cash and their services to help us. However, you have to appreciate that everything we do here is on a volunteer basis. For years and years, throughout all the morphs this company has gone through, this group has been producing quality live theatre at basically no cost.”
For details on the upcoming adult and youth workshops, and to volunteer in any way, contact Kim Ransom at email@example.com