by Joe Szekeres
Bob Dylan sang, “The times, they are a changin’ “and it appears Theatre 3x60 is a changin’ with the times.
A recent press release states this unique, not for profit, professional theatre company has now become Theatre on the Ridge. I was intrigued to discover why the renaming.
Founded in 2013 by Carey Nicholson and Joan Etienne, Theatre 3x60 committed itself to enriching lives through theatre, on and offstage, by working with community partners and taking productions and programs to non-traditional venues such as schools, coffee houses, public libraries and other community venues.
“These four years of growth,” says Nicholson, “have given the company a clearer idea of who we are and how we can continue to serve artists and the community. We now have a bigger picture view of where we are headed.”
Over a cup of tea on a rainy evening, Ms. Nicholson says Theatre on The Ridge will continue to be an entertaining and innovative company that captivates on and offstage, supporting and impacting local communities through culture and community engagement.
“It will be good to have a name that reflects our unique rural location, on the Oak Ridges Moraine, as well as having that little play on words that speaks to our mandate for producing entertaining, edgy and challenging work, and our belief that theatre can provide new and unique perspectives on life.”
The rebranding to Theatre on the Ridge also means there is a new rehearsal and program space as the company partners with the Utica Memory Hall, 13990 Marsh Hill Road in Port Perry, southwest corner of Durham 21 and Marsh Hill Road. This home base will provide theatre education and community performance programs in such areas as stagecraft, playwrighting, production skills, staged readings and studio scale plays.
During our conversation, Ms. Nicholson adds that the newest Theatre on the Ridge team member brings a wealth of experience to this summer’s annual theatre festival.
Amanda Klein joins as Summer Company Manager, a full time six-month contract that allows her to oversee all the 2018 summer theatre festival productions and events under Nicholson’s mentorship. Ms. Klein completed an undergraduate degree in technical theatre production at Newfoundland’s Memorial University. Since completing her education, Klein has been employed annually at Grandbank Theatre Festival, Gros Morne Theatre Festival and Opera on the Avalon.
I have been fortunate to have seen several top notch and high quality professional live productions over the last four years through Theatre 3x60. The summer Festival 2018 repertory slate promises it will be well worth the drive to Port Perry. Casting has not been finalized, but there will be fresh faces along with returning company members from summer 2017.
The season opens July 5 with a production of Canadian Norm Foster’s ‘The Melville Boys’ directed by Carey Nicholson. Next is the children’s classic J. M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ opening July 11 with direction by Carey Nicholson. The third production is Canadian Colleen Murphy’s ‘Armstrong’s War’ opening July 24 with direction by Carey Nicholson and Duncan Gibson-Lockhart. August 1 will see the opening of the classic Tennessee Williams’ ‘The Glass Menagerie’ to be directed by Annette Stokes and Michael Serres. The fifth production is ‘The Drowning Girls’ written by Canadians Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson and Daniela Vlaskalic which opens August 7. Direction is by Carey Nicholson. All these performances will take place at the Town Hall 1873, Port Perry.
And yes, there are more theatre events outside the Town Hall. Last summer’s highly successful ‘Pine Grove Plots’ by Graeme Powell with Paul Arculus returns once again, with direction by Michael Serres and Annette Stokes, and staged in downtown Port Perry and the Pine Grove Cemetery in Prince Albert. Opening is July 22. Finally, there is an original production of ‘Monsters and Milfoil: A Tale of Lake Scugog’ directed and created by this summer’s company of performers and staged at the Scugog Memorial Public Library which opens July 24.
For further information on ticket prices, all show dates, performance times and cast, visit their website. Tickets may also be purchased at the door before each performance.