The year that was 2019/2020
With our last season cut short, this year’s summary has taken on much more meaning for us. When the pandemic first hit, we knew it was important to stay connected with our patrons and fellow artists so all last spring we circulated a bi-weekly “staff picks” list to make sure people knew they were not alone and that Centaur was still busily planning for a future.
We initiated a series of online conversations that will carry into the New Year. We managed to pull off our first ever outdoor mini-festival … sadly cut short due to the reinstated Red Alert. We workshopped and streamed a live reading of Steve Galluccio’s new play, At the Beginning of Time, as well as a reading of Alexandria Haber’s play inspired by self-isolation, Housebound & Homesick. We initiated the Artistic Diversity Discussion and have created a Wildside Festival to kick off 2021 that is totally online and free.
We did our best to overcome the challenges of 2020 so this year in review is inspired by our core staff, who have been holding down the fort for 9 months and counting, until it’s safe to welcome you back.
“Three things stand out for me from last season. The standing ovation on the opening night of Alice and the World We Live In; having a private marionette lesson with Ronnie Burkett; and the chance to acknowledge my friend and mentor, Jackie Maxwell, on the opening night of Paradise Lost.”
– Eda Holmes, Artistic and Executive Director
“It was very heartwarming to see two of the Portico Project shows. It was the first time since the pandemic to see real actors, and they were performing on the steps of our beautiful building. So sad it was cut short, but it was a proof of the theatre community’s resilience. No matter what, we will survive!”
– Aleksandra Oleszkiewicz, Accounting Manager
I really enjoyed working on the Portico Project with all these up and coming companies. We had a lot of fun and it was a great energy!
– Howard Mendelsohn, Production Manager
“Hands down … my new Austin Mini & receiving the CQT ‘Prix Sentinelle’ award!”
– Chuck Childs, General Manager
“It was really great to see Amelia Sargisson in a big show like Paradise Lost because she used to be a Centaur usher.”
– Layne Shutt, Front of House Manager
“One of my favourite Centaur moments was definitely working on Paradise Lost: meeting and working with Jackie Maxwell and Lucy Peacock for the very first time and, of course, the wonderful cast of local actors who had to do an intense one-week ‘angel boot camp’!”
“My second favourite moment was working on Steve Galluccio’s workshop and live reading of his new play, since The Beginning of Time was the first time that I was working on a play with actors after months and months of isolation. It reminded me how much I love and need theatre and this community, and how much energy and joy it brings to me.”
– Luciana Burcheri, Production Associate
“Me and my son dancing in our seats for most of Michelle Sweeney’s kick-ass show, Her Songs, My Story. The whole audience rocked out to Aretha Franklin tunes that night!”
–Barbara Ford, Communications Writer
“One of the highlights of an otherwise gloomy 2020 was being able to sit in on the newly formed Artistic Diversity Discussion panel at Centaur Theatre, and not just because I was star-struck and inspired by the magical presence of jazz icon, Ranee Lee! The conversation turned towards honest representation on stage of, for lack of a better term, ‘otherness’, that neither white-washes/negates nor stereotypes … just incorporates and normalizes diversity and equity on stage…
…Julie Tamiko Manning simplified this by saying basically, ‘No Feathers’, referencing the pitfall of including indigenous actors/characters that are either ‘played white’ or presented as a trope for spectacle. This ‘No Feathers’ reminder sums up so perfectly what needs correcting when it comes to authentic diversity on stage, whether its queerness, Blackness, fatness, or any other ‘otherness’ that exists outside of the white/cis/het/middle-class/male/western default that has been the basis for SO MANY plays and stories. Let’s get to work and remember, NO FEATHERS! ❤”
– Jennifer Bisson, Development Assistant
“I loved being part of the Saturday Salons. Running the tech for the online conversations meant chatting with familiar and new faces whom I missed seeing since the theatre has been closed. And the conversations had were so inspiring and interesting.”
– Vanessa Rigaux, Digital Media Manager
“Also, that time Jane Wheeler put on a chicken mask during a video interview for Alice and the World You Live In.”
– Vanessa Rigaux, Digital Media Manager
“My favourite thing has been the connection to people who are passionate about theatre: our colleagues who share the common goal of creating theatre magic and our patrons who continue to keep me on my toes and share with us why they love theatre. That’s something that I luckily have been able to experience in person in the often festive and overly decorated Centaur box office and most recently from my very own dining room … my temporary makeshift box office!”
– Vanessa Gomory, Box Office Manager
“Live theatre! A whole audience breathing, laughing, gasping together as the story unfolds before them. MOB had us all on the edge of our seat till the very end. Oh no! You missed MOB because the run got cut short? Hmmmm … stay tuned, See you in 2021!”
– Eloi Savoie, Communications & Marketing Manager
We miss you; we miss making theatre for you, and with the optimism that the news of a vaccine has provoked in all of us, let’s hope that things are looking up for 2021.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!