GCTC turns 40

Kitchissippi’s Eric Coates, GCTC’s artistic director, at the season launch on April 8. Photo by Al Goyette.

Presenting to an enthusiastic and responsive full house, Kitchissippi’s Eric Coates, GCTC’s artistic director, entertained supporters with a jam-packed hour of information, laughs, glimpses into the 2014/2015 season’s plays, and a very creative ‘subscription’ notice who periodically wandered onto the stage in his birthday suit (well, almost).

GCTC celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2014/2015, and in the words of Nhanci Wright, Chair of the Board of Directors of GCTC, the theatre has “survived through the people who come to see the plays.” Originally housed on Gladstone Avenue, they received a donation of $2.5 million in 2004 to build the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, located in the heart of Kitchissippi on Wellington Street. Although it ultimately cost over $11 million, through funders and sponsors, volunteers, donors and Board challenges (which raised $30,000 last year), they are close to being debt free.

“I love theatre. You never know what can happen,” says Coates. “It’s a balance between bravado and hard work,” he adds, likening theatre to “a bee hive.”

GCTC has a commitment to “foster, produce and promote excellent theatre that provokes examination of Canadian life and our place in the world.” They show current plays with, Coates adds, “a divergent, provocative and multiplicity of themes.”

The 40th season opens mid-September with the world premiere of a family memoir, The Boy in the Moon, which deals with Canadian journalist and author Ian Brown’s experience raising his son, Walker, who had a rare genetic disorder. Adapted for theatre by Emil Sher, the play has been financially supported by The Charles Dalphen Tribute Fund, in honour of “the value of human life.” Charles Dalphen, a former GCTC Board member who died 5 years ago, was, in the words of his wife, Susannah, “instrumental in getting Canadian work out to the public. Chuck had a great sensitivity toward people with disabilities,” she adds with hopes that the play will have “a lasting legacy.”

Kitchissippi’s Margo MacDonald appears in Pomme and Restes: Shipwrecked! On the Tempestuous Lost Island of Never, a co-production with A Company of Fools, a family play which will take place in November and December. Coates describes the story as “working on a cruise ship hit by an iceberg and then stranded on a deserted island, where they meet literary figures from the past – from Anne of Green Gables to Captain Hook.”

According to Coates, this new season of plays range from “family memoir to Bollywood dance, shipwrecked clowns, desperate lovers, sibling rivalry, and the civil service.”

Other changes to GCTC this season include Undercurrents moving to the Fringe Festival and being replaced with Propeller Dance, an accessible dance company that integrates individuals with disabilities. The group will be practicing on site at GCTC during the year and performing in May 2015.

For more information on this new season’s plays, visit the GCTC’s website at gctc.ca.

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