Well, that was a hell of a year.
I spent more time over the last twelve months submerged in independent theatre than in all of my previous years combined. Through this blog, and through explorations with my own company, I’ve been diving straight towards the heart of this form in an effort to come to terms with exactly why theatre affects me so profoundly, to determine why, for me, it speaks louder than music, than prose, than film – any amount of disciplines that I could just as easily have devoted my time and passion to. With the help of many generous and talented and very smart people I think I’ve found a few answers. But I also now have way more questions than I did this time last year. And so The Next Stage continues.
How are we going to top last year, Vancouver? I will always remember 2008 as the year we took a big step out of our quiet little closet and kick-started the movement. We should acknowledge that it is a very important time historically to be a member of the theatre community here. Ground is being broken. We certainly have a long way to climb until we sit in our rightful place in the hearts and minds of the city at large, but we’re marching. Momentum is building.
In 2008 we: hosted the city’s first Devoted and Disgruntled Open Space forum at PuSh. We finally put together a much-needed critical Fringe guide, and saw the highest attendance at our Fringe ever . We showed how well we take care of one of our own when they need it the most. We played host to Magnetic North, the country’s largest festival and forum for independent theatre, and knocked it out of the park. At Mag North, Hive 2 made Vancouver the envy of every attendant city in Canada, and heaved indie theatre that much closer to the mainstream. The York lives. The Wrecking Ball polarized our industry and proved beyond the shadow of a doubt the awesome power we wield when we come together as a community. And in amongst all of that I bore witness to contemporary independent productions in small spaces that blew my friggin’ mind: Dishpig. Rachel Corrie. Red Light Winter. Where’s My Money. Fortunate Son. The talent in this city is shocking. The potential here is staggering.
My goal for this site in 2009 is to continue to build it as Vancouver’s online indie theatre coffee shop. The Next Stage exists as a forum for promotion, discussion and debate. As always, please feel free to jump into the comments section to speak your mind, and if there’s anything at all that you feel deserves discussion, never hesitate to email me at vanstage(at)gmail(dot)com with your topical topic suggestions.
Oh, and The Next Stage is always open to solicitations for guest posts. If there’s something you need to say to the community and need a soap box, I would be honoured to discuss hosting your piece.
So, Vancouver. What’s next?
Downtown Vancouver skyline courtesy of Flickr user Penmachine