While 2020 was a hard year, the Rosebud Theatre expects to move into the future better than ever.
June 28th marked the launch of the Rosebud Alive! Concert, a one-hour long stream featuring various musicians from Rosebud, as well as graduates from the Rosebud School of the Arts returning to lend their talent.
The content was filmed on June 25th and edited for the showcase the following Monday, and the proceeds of the concert went directly to keeping the theatre and school alive after COVID-19.
“So what has happened is we've had two donors step forward, who have pledged up to $25,000 of matching funds,” said Paul Muir, executive director of the Rosebud School of the Arts and Rosebud Theatre. “It's amazing when you have donors like that, it means so very much. This campaign is going to run all summer long, so our hope is over the summer, to raise another $25,000 so that by the end of the summer we will have raised $50,000.”
Losing the entirety of the 2020 season and most of the 2021 season to restrictions took it’s toll on the theatre, but Muir believes that they are in a position to not only fully recover, but emerge in a better position than they were before.
“To lose the revenue from the plays for two years in a row has been really, really difficult, but it has also given us the opportunity to step back a little bit to assess everything that we are doing in the organization to refocus on mission and mandate,” said Muir. “We found that it's actually forced us to find efficiencies within the organization. That will, of course, continue on beyond the pandemic.”
Beyond efficiencies, the pandemic has brought an entirely new skill set for the actors and administration of the theatre, as they created digital content over the course of these two years.
“That has been just a huge education. Of course,this was our suspicion at the beginning, we did not expect that virtual performance would be the same or take the place as like an in person performance,” said Muir. “If we had to keep doing this, we would have to completely change our model of production and our model of ticket sales, and our whole business model would have to change to support that.”
These recorded and streamed digital performances include a one-man version of A Christmas Carol, performed by Nathan Schmidt; while originally performed for a 25% capacity house, the piece was later put online and received approximately 530 paid views of the recording. The Rosebud school of the arts also hosted live streamed performances of For Home and Country.
The School of the Arts was fortunate to be able to continue offering classes due to the size of the cohort, which was a significant help for both sides of the organization. They are currently taking applications for the coming year, said Muir.
While fundraising will undoubtedly continue, a full 2022 season of plays is planned as well as an autumn or winter show, and Rosebud theatre is in full swing this summer with a series of outdoor concerts every weekend, beginning July 10th through to August 28th.
“We've got we've got the rosebuds String Quartet, we've got the High Level Trio and these are all amazing players from the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, from the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and various orchestras who've come together to put together these little trios and quartets to bring this incredible music to our outdoor stage,” said Muir. And then we have, we've got people throughout the summer. We're excited to be able to host people again.”
Other concerts over the course of the summer include John Wort Hannam, Peter and the Wolves, Justine Vandergrift, and Lewis & Royal. Two art markets will also hosted by the Rosebud Art Collective on July 17th and August 14th.
Information regarding all the listed events is available on the Rosebud Theatre website.