I just finished performing in a Theatre Orillia show- The Affections of May, two weeks ago.
Since then, I have spent 9 days in rehearsal for another show and now less than two weeks later the new show All for Nun- A Stage Xtravaganza, which I wrote, is up and running at the OCC in Orillia.
Today, I write a Message from the Artistic Director- which I am. I've had almost 800 reads on Facebook and now I present it in its entirety to you.
A Message from the Artistic Director of Theatre Orillia/Double R Productions
I am Rob Reid Artistic Director for Theatre Orillia/Double R Productions. That sounds like an important title doesn’t it? It isn’t really. It just looks good on a business card. Besides the card, I wear many hats as Artistic Director- Actor and Playwright among them. I spent several months and countless hours writing the script for the current Theatre Orillia Production- All for Nun- A Stage Xtravaganza.
We have just started our second Summer Production of our inaugural three show season at the OCC- former Cinema 4, on Colborne Street, in Downtown Orillia. Our final show will be in September/October at the newly named St. Paul’s Centre at Coldwater Street and Peter Street North.
To date- with Norm Foster’s The Affections of May and the current on stage production- All For Nun- and up to and including our fall production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” we have tried our best to be “a Part of our Community”- as our tag line says.
We have or will be bringing up to 20 buses, countless groups and dozens of Sunshine Getaway Tours’ guests to The City or Orillia and to our Downtown, Waterfront and Restaurants.
That’s a lot of people who will shop in Orillia’s stores, dine in our restaurants or see the sites. Being a not-for-profit theatre company we run on a bare minimum budget. We started out with zero dollars. To help us pay for our season we have received one $500 grant from the City of Orillia, money from our Season and Show Sponsors, Kickstarter supporters and advertisers but it doesn’t pay all our expenses.
We pay our cast and crew weekly as well as our venue- the OCC. That’s a very large outlay of cash. The four of us who started this company have so far not received one cent of pay. We funnel all our funds towards paying for the shows, the OCC, costumes, rights, props and Cast & Crew.
It is a large undertaking.
Looking at the audience numbers we bring to the OCC, I should mention that the majority of the audience members are from out-of-town. Local and area support is meagre at best. Oh, there are the hard core theatre goers who support us time and time again and we thank them every time they show up. This year Lake Country is supporting us. The Island Princess too. Our charities that we promote at each show- Green Haven, Dress for Success, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Sharing Place Food Bank all try their best to bring patrons to our shows.
There are times we offer comp tickets to fill seats. Many theatres do. However, giving out “free” tickets does not pay our bills. We offer comps in the hope that those people seeing our show(s) will spread the word.
Some Media types are a great help to us. The Packet and Times have been more than generous with advertising. John Swartz of the Packet is always a stalwart supporter of our company, as is Frank Matys and Orillia Today. Ross McIntyre has written terrific articles as well. UPS Orillia has been very generous as has Swisssh Radio- an Online station. We get snippets from other groups but Radio and Television media- not so much. They are tough nuts to crack. True, we don’t have hundreds or thousands to spend but what if we are successful and return for a second season and we have extra dollars for advertising? Will we hot-foot it to the media that offers no help when we need it most- during this inaugural season?
Then, there’s our Cultural Department at City Hall. We haven’t seen nor heard from anyone there nor has a representative- to my knowledge attended our show(s). We have given some comps to those folks who work at the Orillia Opera House as the Sunshine Getaway Package includes Theatre Orillia as well as The Opera House, The Island Princess, OMAH and The Mariposa Inn.
We have seen our Mayor Steve Clarke and a couple of Councillors in our theatre. We have even invited Mayors and Councillors from Severn and Ramara.
I can hear you saying- so what do you want?
Local support from citizens and businesses.
Attend one of our shows.
Give us a leg up. Hang up a poster.
Recognize we are a viable theatre company and pass on the word to others.
Imagine, our small city of 30,000+ people has two summer Theatre Companies and has had for two years! We are a Part of Our Community.
We bring tourists to Orillia including folks from Toronto, London, Cambridge, Hamilton, Huntsville, Haliburton, Burlington and more. They leave our Theatre Orillia at the OCC beaming. They love the shows, our actors, our sets, our comfortable, air-conditioned, easily accessible venue.
Theatre Orillia has a good thing going here. Why there are those who ignore that fact is a mystery to us. Yes, we can give out comps to fill our theatre but we really need the cash. We have brought in the various charities to show you that we want to be here. We want to help other organizations as well as ourselves.
Our Actors in our shows come from not only Orillia but further afield from the North, East and South. Everyone has an equal opportunity to audition for us. Our Actors and Crew are hard-working, professionals and give you a big, big bang for your buck.
We do too.
Thursday’s are Two for One. Buy one adult ticket at $30, Senior $25 or Student $15 and receive the second free! There are special rates for groups of 30 or more. Details are on our website www.theatreorillia.ca or call our Box Office at 705.242.8011. Our Box Office is open at the OCC Monday thru Saturday from 11 until 2PM.
This past Tuesday we had four, local "theatre virgins" in the audience. They had never seen a "live" stage show before. A Sister Mary Margaret would say- "Isn't that grand?"
If you’re Media, we’d be happy to help you by displaying logos and ensuring your “brand” is displayed before and during the show. Call us and we’ll see what we can do.
We don’t want to flounder wondering how we can get local bums in our Theatre Orillia seats. If we do, we won’t be able to afford to do this for another year.
Thanks and see you at the theatre!
Theatre Orillia that is…
Artistic Director Theatre Orillia/ Double R Productions