Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Ontario theater proves its generosity

The last two years of social distancing have been rough of small town community theaters. Some closed for good. Some went on hiatus. And many, through a combination of creativity and grit, survived.

And then there's Hanover Community Theatre of Hanover, Ontario. As reported in the Wiarton Echo, they not only survived, they thrived. So much so that they were recently honored with the Not For Profit Excellence Award by their town's Chamber of Commerce.

They donate $1 from each adult ticket to local charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hanover and the Hanover Housing Support Program. During the pandemic, they sold a lot of them.

How did they do it? The same way so many theaters thrived: by learning to stream their shows.

Their first online production was Pioneer Drama Service's Ho Ho Ho! The North Pole Chronicles. As it turns out, they had a lot to learn. One big challenge was getting the actors to take turns when talking (never easy!).

"We also had tech problems like Internet connection issues out in the country," said HCP Chair Jenn Hillier. "It could be difficult to get everyone acting to focus and be audible."

But they eventually solved their problems, following up that show with my own You're Virtually Driving Me Crazy!

"Two weens ended up being two years," said Hillier. "But even though COVID we kept running plays any way we could do so.

A well-earned award indeed.

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