The co-chairs of Port Perry’s Borelians, Kyle Brough and Helen Coughlin, continue to promote diligently the importance of the performing arts in Scugog and Durham Regions. A locally based community theatre group since 1971, the Borelians (the name derived from the village of ‘Borelia’ which is now a part of Port Perry) has entertained Scugog and Durham Region audiences for forty-seven years. Given the most welcoming atmosphere that patrons, guests and members always receive each time the Borelians host an event, I’m positive there will be a huge fiftieth anniversary celebration in this quaint town with a big heart.
Over lunch at Port Perry’s Pickles and Olives, Mr. Brough (who is especially grateful and appreciative of the stable force of live theatre) and I discuss many issues which influence tremendously not only the Borelians but also many other locally based groups, with audience development as one of them. In our twenty-first century world of instant gratification of knowledge and entertainment now downloaded to our Ipads and mobile phones, how on earth can community live theatre even survive and thrive?
Mr. Brough firmly believes that the nature of community theatre has changed given the advent of electronics and social media. And what did the Borelians do to face this change head on? Through sparks of audience conversation, three tasks emerge: a) audiences want to be entertained; b) audiences want to think and c) audiences want ‘more’.
The Borelians have met the first two tasks admirably in their recent productions on the Port Perry Town Hall 1873 Stage: HAVING HOPE AT HOME, THE DRAWER BOY, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, VANYA AND SONYA AND MASHA AND SPIKE. Additionally, I will be grateful the Borelians allowed me to direct DOUBT: A PARABLE once again. It’s the third task which poses a question - what does it mean that audiences want more?
Well, the Borelians proudly give the audiences more bang for their entertainment buck. There are opening wine and cheese gala nights and a meet and greet with the cast after the performance. Gala night audiences may tour the set after the performance, see the costumes up close and handle carefully some of the props. The Borelians have found their opening galas to be the biggest draw as the magic of theatre comes alive for them.
The upcoming 2017-2018 season looks promising. Now in rehearsal for its October opening is Peter Shaffer’s LETTICE AND LOVAGE which the company bills as a hilarious satire centered around a flamboyant countryside tour guide who likes to embellish the facts on her tours. During one tour she meets her counterpart, a fact obsessed, London based official in desperate need of distraction. The winter production of SISTERS by Wendy Lill, is a devastating, intense and provocative Canadian play which follows a horrific event to occur in a residential school. There you have it – two engaging plays offering comedy, drama and an opportunity for audiences to laugh, to think, to ponder and to reflect.
Performance dates for LETTICE AND LOVAGE are October 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 2017 at 8 pm with matinees at 2 pm on October 14 and 21, 2017. Performance dates for SISTERS are February 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 and 24, 2018 at 8 pm with matinees at 2 pm on February 17 and 24, 2018.
Tickets for both productions are now available for purchase at the Town Hall 1873 Box Office (905) 985-8181 and/or through subscription. For further information, please visit the website. Advance tickets may be also purchased online here.