As I write this, the Edmonton Fringe Festival is in full swing
in Old Strathcona, and Canadian drama is alive and kicking on the twelve
stages and fourteen "Bring Your Own Venues." The support for local
playwrights and actors is strong and vocal. New plays by Stewart
Lemoine and David Belke are sold out, and the lineups for Busbarn seats
that don't collapse begin an hour before each show. Theatre is a
community activity in the summer, beginning with Shakespeare in the Park
in July. Thunderstorms and mosquitoes provide the local colour and
a subtext for the lines. Nowhere else have I experienced this strong
connection between actors and audience – theatre as a participatory event.
And to think that for some in the audience, this is a work-related activity!
The work of the Association for Canadian Theatre Research is to help ensure that an awareness and appreciation of such creativity is provided with a critical and historical context. It also provides an important network for scholars and practitioners –a support system and a group of mentors and friends. The annual conferences function as social reunions as well as intellectual exercises, and facilitate an overview of current theatrical events across the country, and the current state of research.
This year at Laval, from May 23 to 26, we celebrate our 25th anniversary. Already ideas for special events and guests are fulminating. The executive members, and the Programme Chair, Francine Chaîné, welcome your suggestions. Above all, we encourage your participation.
The question has been raised in the past, "What can the association do for me?" ACTR/ARTC offers the opportunity to participate in an exchange of ideas and opinions, and in the life of the theatre in Canada. Write an editorial for the Newsletter with your views on the local or national theatre scene, submit a paper to Theatre Research In Canada, participate in the association's committees or executive, contribute to the Encyclopedia of Canadian Theatre on the www (canadiantheatre.com). During my previous tenure as treasurer for the association, I have learned much from the dedicated, hard-working members of the executive who made possible for others an opportunity to ensure a positive and strong reception for Canadian theatre on the academic and political scene, and in the community. I undertake my new role as president of ACTR/ARTC with the awareness that they have provided a hard act to follow, but also a strong supportive stage on which we can play our own unique parts.
Bulletin ARTC/ACTR Newsletter 24.2