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Thursday, 30 August 2018 08:19

Lyric Theatre announces exciting initiatives

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Board of Directors President Denise Wall speaks during an announcement of various new initiatives at the Lyric Theatre, Aug. 27. Seated are the Lyric Theatre’s new management team, Artistic Director Gordon McCall and General Manager Aina Adashynski. Board of Directors President Denise Wall speaks during an announcement of various new initiatives at the Lyric Theatre, Aug. 27. Seated are the Lyric Theatre’s new management team, Artistic Director Gordon McCall and General Manager Aina Adashynski.

Patrons of Swift Current’s historic theatre can look forward to some exciting initiatives over the next year.

The Lyric Theatre held a press conference on Aug. 27 to announce a number of activities, which will start this fall with more renovations to the building’s interior and the production of the first play in a new play series.
The announcements were made by Denise Wall, president of the board of directors and the Lyric Theatre’s new management team, General Manager Aina Adashynski and Artistic Director Gordon McCall.
The Lyric Theatre is able to continue with the next step in the Living Legacy building renovations after receiving a generous donation of $250,000 from the Durward Seafoot estate.
“It was an amazing surprise,” Wall said. “So with that we we’re able to start thinking about the next phases of our renovation.”
The next step in the renovation process will be the construction of a stairwell behind the main floor stage that will connect all three floors of the building. The construction tender has already been awarded.
The work is scheduled to start around the middle of September and will take about five weeks to complete.
The cost of the project will be about $150,000. It will ensure that the stairs in the building will comply with modern building code requirements and it will create a proper entrance and exit for all three floors, which will make it possible to move forward with future plans to use all three levels of the Lyric Theatre.
“Also, we will be moving our office upstairs and that is due in part to last year’s contest from the National Trust of Canada, This Place Matters, where everybody voted for us and we won the regional price of $30,000,” she said.
The construction of the stairwell will take place behind a sheet of plastic and there will be no disruption to the scheduled programs and events at the Lyric Theatre. The current office and green room for artists behind the stage will no longer be there as a result of this upgrade.
“By taking out the green room and the office area, we’re going to eventually be able to move the stage back a little back,” Wall said. “Gordon and Aina have plans to increase the space here in the theatre a little bit.”
Until they have upstairs office space in the building, Adashynski and McCall will have to relocate to an alternative location, which must still be determined.
An announcement was also made during the press conference about the Lyric Theatre’s new branding.
“This is about freshening up our appeal to the community and trying to capture something from the past and moving it into the present,” McCall said.
Adashynski and McCall have created a new brand design for the Lyric Theatre that will be used on their promotional material. It consists of the words “The Lyric presents” that is set in a distinctive and colourful format.
McCall noted that the Lyric Theatre’s brand is already well established in the community, which made it possible for them to create a brand design that is simply based on the term “The Lyric.”
“Everywhere in the community we hear the Lyric, the Lyric, we’re going to the Lyric, and because we know this theatre is so loved, we just thought that’s what people are saying all the time, let’s make it The Lyric,” he explained. “We know it’s a theatre and so that’s where the idea came from.”
The other announcements at the press conference will be of interest to anyone who enjoys the experience of live theatre. The Lyric Theatre is starting a new play series, called Sparks in the Dark: Plays to Ignite the Imagination.
McCall noted that the Lyric Theatre is already a well-established venue in the city for musical performances, but the Chautauqua Performing Arts Festival in July is the only live theatre event hosted by the organization.
“We said OK, this is the Lyric Theatre, let’s put more theatre into the mix,” he explained. “So we came up with the notion of a series of plays that we are producing.”
The first three plays in this new series will be directed by McCall, and the premiere production this September will be Canadian playwright Stephen Massicotte’s play Mary’s Wedding.
There will be five evening performances, starting at 8 p.m. on Sept. 21, 22, 23, 27, 28 and 30 and two matinee shows at 2 p.m. on Sept. 22 and 30.
The next play in the new Sparks in the Dark series will be Merry Munsch, a Christmas production in December for the entire family that will be an adaption of stories by popular children’s author Robert Munsch.
The third play, Motherhood Out Loud, is a hilarious, thought-provoking play about mothers. It will be performed at the Lyric Theatre in March.
In 2019 the Lyric Theatre will also be bringing a new outdoor Shakespeare summer festival to Swift Current, which will be called Shakespeare at Speedy Creek.
More details about the new Sparks in the Dark series and the Shakespeare festival will be provided in next week’s Prairie Post.

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Matthew Liebenberg