…we brainstormed ideas for a summer project.

A special guest for dinner tonight! And as it turns out, the next few months: brother Ryan. Having grown up at this very table, he’s since flown the coop to study acting at the prestigious Stratford Festival Birmingham Conservatory. However, having just completed year one, he’s opted for surgery to repair a recurring knee injury which will keep him from what would have otherwise been a summer of performing in between years of school.

Recovery time. Back living at home. Now what?

Dinner: Meatloaf with root vegetables Bottle of red wine (x 2).

Ryan is now looking for ways to pass the summer and possibly make up for lost income and experience while living back home in the small town, unable to do much physical work. But he’s come to the table with a few ideas on how the town, rife with performing arts, but on a much smaller scale, could capitalize on his knowledge, experience and passion for theatre. Live theatre is a big part of our local tourism pallet, boasting five theatres and attracting tens of thousands of patrons year-round (which Mom, Adam and Jessica are all actively involved in: Jessica professionally as development officer for our local professional summer theatre; Adam and Dawn as board members of the local community theatre). But while the plethora of theatre is recognized in our municipality, its association isn’t formalized, such as say the South Coast Wineries Association, Ontario Summer Theatres etc.

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Idea #1: Ryan could spearhead the interconnection of the theatre/arts community in Norfolk County. Paper out, we began jotting down potential benefits: cross marketing, scheduling, sharing resources, playbill selection/co-ordination and membership incentives/discounts, partnering with local restaurants and establishments, and overall strengthening the clout of the local theatre community in holding its place within the local tourism/cultural/business community. Even potential for combined investments among individual theatres: a warehouse, rehearsal space, a workshop, tools, inventory system, online “store” etc.

Needs and benefits. Why things are created. Good start. Longer term? Maybe. What about the short term (relatively speaking – 4 to 6 weeks, avec crutches)?

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Idea #2: conducting a theatre workshop – sharing his attained knowledge, and maybe earning a bit of money. Or a seminar? Discuss writers, the language, the way dick jokes are threaded within the works of everyone from Norm Foster to Shakespeare. Ryan knows that stuff. And our theatre-loving community would love to learn it.
Certainly plenty to consider heading into the operating room. Under the knife this week, then a few weeks of un-woozing.

It’s almost spring, and the makings of a summer project are taking form. Wish Ryan the best!