Theatre on the Ridge receives provincial funding support to continue bringing local history to life in 2021 and 2022
In spite of theatres remaining closed due to Covid restrictions, Theatre on the Ridge has kept theatre alive since the beginning of the pandemic, and now will continue to do so into 2022 with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Culture Days.
The Ontario Arts Council recently awarded an Arts Response Initiative grant to Theatre on the Ridge, allowing the company to adapt its popular Pine Grove Plots theatrical walk program to virtual safe self guided tours, accessible on personal devices. In addition, there is the potential over the next year to develop new tours profiling other notable heritage and community stories in Scugog. The original Pine Grove Plots was written by area playwright, Graeme Powell from the book, Pine Grove Cemetery by Paul Arculus. Both live performances and the launch of the virtual tours are expected to take place this summer.
Looking ahead to 2022, Theatre on the Ridge has also been selected for the Ontario Culture Days Creatives in Residence program. Funding from this program will support commissioning a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour) playwright to create a new play for Theatre on the Ridge, inspired by the life of the first black resident in Port Perry. Professor Samuel Stout arrived in our community in 1866 and although part of his compelling story has been told briefly in Pine Grove Plots, both the man and his life in this community are worthy of much greater exploration and awareness. In conjunction with the play development component, the project includes a series of interactive audience and community engagement workshops with a focus on both the theatre creation process, related local black history and diversity programming. The workshops will take place in the summer of 2022 and the project will culminate in the first formal presentation of the new play during Culture Days the same fall. Playwrights wishing to submit a proposal for consideration should contact Theatre on the Ridge at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a detailed project package, which will be available in early May.
Theatre on the Ridge would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Culture Days for making both these projects possible. In the face of the devastating, ongoing challenges to live theatre, including complete shutdown, brought on by Covid 19, opportunities to safely create new work and new platforms for staying relevant in our community and connecting to our audiences are greatly needed and appreciated.
For more information on the virtual Pine Grove Plots project, the call for submissions for the Samuel Stout project, and other upcoming theatre productions and events, visit our website at theatreontheridge.ca.