Theatre Orangeville to hold first Open House this Saturday

September 24, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Theatre Orangeville is celebrating a triumphant 25 years of bringing great plays and musicals to audiences  by having its first ever Open House

This is a free invitation to one and all, taking place on this Saturday, September 22, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., coinciding with the Farmers’ Market.

The invitation is particularly to any of us who have never been to the theatre or even realized there is a theatre in Orangeville. It is in the Town Hall, on 87 Broadway, right on the corner of Second Street.

Every half-hour, there will be a tour of the theatre premises, taking visitors into the parts of the theatre that the public never sees, on a walk that lasts for about half an hour, two guides for every 30 minutes..

Every half-hour, unless, so Teena Avery, Marketing and Public Relations, told us, with grand enthusiasm, “If there are abundant people, we’ll do tours every 15 minutes.”

This is a genuine reaching out to the public on the part of Theatre Orangeville, to let them know that this is, “Your theatre,” as David Nairn, Artistic Director, is fond of saying.

“This is an opportunity for everyone, including people who have never been in the theatre before,” said Ms. Avery. “A lot of people don’t realize there is a professional theatre [right here in Orangeville]. So, we encourage everyone to come out and see what’s here.”

David Nairn will be in attendance, welcoming people to their theatre, encouraging them to join the tour and see the whole show. From him, visitors will have the chance to meet the staff of the theatre, who keep it ticking over and attend to its many behind-the-scenes needs. They may touch on the very complicated regime of administration, a combination of business – money in, money out and how to keep the doors open through all that; the matter of communicating with the whole wide world of our locale and further, that could be the audience, selling tickets, selling subscriptions: looking to engage all ages, for some of the entertainment, certainly the Christmas show; but young adults, all the way to their most senior seniors.

In keeping the theatre open to be completely inclusive, Theatre Orangeville opens its door with a Relaxed Performance, during A Christmas Story, which caters especially to anyone who might not be able or feel comfortable to attend a regular performance.

Then, of course, there is the all-important artistic side: Mr Nairn has said on many occasions: “The hardest part of this job is choosing the shows for each new season.” There is then the auditions to do, casting about for the best cast for each production. Directors, technicians and the very skilled production team that creates the fabulous sets:  a big part of how good every show looks.

The tour will take you on a walk-about of the new set on stage, as part of the current pre-season show, Confessions from the Ninth Concession, starring Dan Needles and Ian Bell. There’ll be some discussion on design and how to manage moving about in a set, taking into consideration, all the requirements of the actors bringing the story to the stage.

There is that period before a production, of 30 minutes, when much of the magic and mysteries, much of the last preparations on the part of the actors, musicians – whoever is participating in the production about to begin takes place. These back stage rooms are called Green Rooms: “It’s an industry expression,” Ms Avery explained.

No member of the public nor, indeed, anyone not in the show, ever goes up to those rooms, except this Saturday when they are part of this tour. Like learning about the inner life of a good friend, these tours will open up a part of the theatre we have never seen or known anything about, to even those of us who attend regularly and those who have never been.

Then, within the fascinating technical side of the productions, the sound and light technician, Taylor Woermann, will talk a bit about some of the ways his job of rising the sun or giving the sound of a passing train – for example – happens. Technology has come along in leaps and bounds in the theatre as it has everywhere else.

For many of these 25 years, it has been Theatre Orangeville’s determination to be fully inclusive and these tours are no exception, for Ms. Avery made it clear: “The tours will be fully accessible for anyone who cannot go up stairs to the Green Rooms or see the tech side of the  business. For those people, there will be a video tour up into the theatre itself, which will be shown in the Atrium downstairs.”

On opening nights and for other reasons, the hospitality of Theatre Orangeville never flags and for this occasion too, there are light refreshments in the beautiful atrium of the Town Hall where all the banners for this new season, this 25th season, are hung, for the anticipation of all who enter.

Ms Avery quite rightly commented, “We want to encourage people to know about Theatre Orangeville and to come and enjoy the productions. It will touch a side of them, they didn’t know they had.”

Theatre Orangeville’s Open House is at the Opera House, 87 Broadway, right next to the Farmers’ Market.

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