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Theatre Orangeville shares plans for 2022

December 23, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Theatre Orangeville’s Artistic Director, David Nairn, recently sat down with the Citizen to discuss his outlook for 2022.

“Whatever happens, we will never ever-ever abandon our theatre. This is the way to still stay in business. So, however it goes, our focus is on the theatre, producing great entertainment, while keeping everyone safe,” he assured us. 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, wonderfully adapted and starring Rod Beattie, finishes this evening (Dec. 23) and has been sold out for much of its run. The filmed version of the show came out this week, on December 22 for viewing online at 7:00 p.m., fully supported from a technical point of view.

It makes for a different Christmas gift, which one can buy by calling the Box Office. As always, when someone buys a ticket, including as a gift, they get very detailed information. All you get now is a link, which requires the email address of the person to whom you are gifting the link to the show.

“2022,” Mr. Nairn began. “First and foremost, God willing everyone behaves themselves and that we’ll be able to congregate again. The timing for the first production in the new year was set specifically. I set the opening date in early March on purpose. We’ll still maintain distancing protocol but this gives us January and February to recuperate, if possible. We’re trying to anticipate where things might go. We knew when we announced the program last summer that there could another wave after the holidays and we timed that on purpose.” 

Something that has Mr. Nairn excited is at the beginning of February, Theatre Orangeville will establish an online library of all the entertainments and plays that have been produced during the time of Covid-19 enforced absence from the theatre. The online library will be a one-stop pick and choose of all the programs. There are 15 shows from which to choose. People can click on and purchase their one time view of the show they like, call it up and watch it.

“And then, it disappears from their computer,” David Nairn told the Citizen. “Our desire and obligation is to support the artists. That’s why we’re monetizing this collection. Here’s your chance to watch whichever one you like when you wish.”

He theorized, “You’re sitting around and think, ‘Let’s watch one of those shows.’ When you’ve seen it, it disappears from your system.

“We either become the slave of technology or we become its master.”

However, not until the spring, in March will A Christmas Carol be available as a live stream. Restrictions of supplies have been the cause why theatre technicians were not able to secure the equipment for live streaming at this time. 

People are still reluctant to go the theatre. Mr. Nairn set the policy, “We as an organization, we will be practicing distancing well into this coming year. Even when we are allowed to have full houses, we will still maintain distancing at 40% capacity, 110 people per performance.”

To manage with this reduced income, Theatre Orangeville is covering the costs by producing plays with smaller casts – one, two and three-handers, plus Leisa Way coming with her Wayward Band.

“These are excellent shows,” he promised. “It was done very much on purpose – we still have contractual obligations to our playwrights in due course but for now, it’s too much of a financial risk to have larger casts.”

Let us have a look at the schedule. First up, on March 3, 2022, is Things My Fore-Sisters Saw, written and performed by Leslie McCurdy. These are the stories of four remarkable women of African Descent, whose life stories are part of Canada’s history. Marie-Joseph Angelique was sold as a slave at six years old, finally living in Montreal. Hers is the first story to symbolize Black Resistance in Canada.

Rose Fortune came to Canada and blazed a trail as an entrepreneur. She has been labelled the first “policewoman” in North America. Mary-Anne Shade was the first woman in North America to publish and edit a newspaper. We can recognize Viola Desmond’s face on our ten dollar bill – remember why from Ms. McCurdy.

Dan Needles and Ian Bell are next. They will bring their laughs, stories and the songs in a second edition of Confessions from the Ninth Concession, written by the two of them. We will sit back; remember we still live basically in the country and enjoy. Opening March 23.

Later in April, Leisa Way and the Wayward Band will raise the roof with her show Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Stay. That lovely lady and her terrific band will remind you, if you were tempted to doubt it, that rock and roll still does both. Opens April 27.

Drew Hayden Taylor has penned the final offering of the season, with his Crees in the Caribbean, opening June 1. “Two middle-aged First Nations seniors…” leave Canada for the first time, to go on holiday for their 35th wedding anniversary in the Caribbean. The possibilities are long and broad – we must trust to Mr. Hayden Taylor and this writer can hardly wait.

The big focus is on theatre excellence but economics also have to matter to theatres making these decisions. Theatre Orangeville’s desire is to bring stories to reflect the diversity of our communities. Another of the challenges is finding accommodation for the actors, given all the protocols.

“Crees in the Caribbean is directed by Keith Parker,” Mr. Nairn wanted noted. “He is the Artistic Director of Native Earth, the foremost Indigenous-based theatre company in the country.”

Next summer, “part of the bed rock to the theatre, since its very beginning,” as Mr. Nairn said in a recent video, Young Company is planning a production outdoors, all centred around safety for patrons, staff, performers concentrating on artistic excellence in as safe an environment as possible.

“I pray,” meaning it, “we’ll be able to move forward again as we did this fall. If we’re not, we will continue; we’re going to remain creative with different plays and different cultures. Over these many months, we are perfectly ready. We don’t have to pivot anymore after the hard work and learning we’ve done.”

With all sincerity, he told us: “Precious few theatres have done the same.”

He said, “I’m trying to position the theatre so that however the winds blow, we are in as great a position as we can be to provide our community with works like these. I am determined to move forward, to keep my staff safe, employed and creative.”

As Artistic Director, he simply confirmed: “We have weathered the last 22 months and we will weather whatever there is to come next.”

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to and to purchase Gift Cards, call the box office – open until 2:00 pm Friday. Call 519-942-3423.

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