We’re waiting for the weather that’s forecast for today: Snow and ice pellets, turning to freezing ice, turning to rain. Again.
Some days, the roads into Blyth have been near-impassable with visibility at an all-time low due to winds that indiscriminately whip the snow across farmers’ fields and roadways. There are times when the only traffic seems to be the snow ploughs. Recently, there was a fender bender right out on main street that pushed each vehicle up on the sidewalks, thanks to a sudden whiteout. And walking has been treacherous, to say the least, with smooth surfaces of ice hiding just below layers of snow.
In the administrative offices of the Blyth Festival, we’re thinking summer. In these cold, quiet, short days of winter, we’re planning for the summer days when Blyth is a bustling village.
We’re envisioning folks lingering on the main street, and popping into stores and eateries before taking their seats in our theatre. We’re speculating on how Jumbo, Cakewalk, The Team on the Hill, In the Wake of Wettlaufer, Bed and Breakfast, Sink or Swim, and Rocko and Nakota will unfold on our stages in this 45th Season of live, original, Canadian theatre. Of course, we’re also wondering just what that big roll of corrugated paper and massive bottle of glue that arrived last week will be fashioned into.
All of the puzzle pieces are falling into place right now: Artistic Director Gil Garratt is assembling actors, creative teams and crews who can best suit our five mainstage and two Phillips Studio productions; General Manager Rachael King is finalizing contracts and sorting out housing for the 60-odd people who move to town for the summer; Audience Services Manager Lisa Harper is busy booking tickets for members and has hired her box office team; Director of Development Jen Lamb is forging relationships with individuals and corporations that support our theatre; and me, well, I’m spreading the word so that no one will want to miss this amazing 45th Season of the Blyth Festival.
We can’t wait to welcome the summer staff, which will be a mix of old friends and yet-to-be-made friends. We’ll act as travel guides to those who come to live in Blyth for the first time, advising them on where to find the best beaches, the most delicious cup of coffee, the Mennonite farms, other events across the county that offer a unique rural experience, and we may offer rides or grocery pick ups to the many who don’t have vehicles.
We’ll also welcome back our army of volunteers, who will either come out of hibernation or return from sunny places to usher our guests to their seats, sell 50/50 tickets, and help wherever they can.
We cannot wait for the magic of a theatre season to begin. That’s when this lousy weather will have all been worth it.
By Heather Boa, Director of Marketing