The Theatre Collingwood PORCHSIDE FESTIVAL began as just one concert that we were going to try to do in a backyard during September of 2020, simply as a way to gather people safely outside during the pandemic. Just before the concert preparation the protocols changed and, although we technically could have presented the show, we felt the public was nervous and the event could be poorly perceived. As a company we “pivoted” and instead presented 3 productions online before the end of the year.
The thought of presenting an outdoor, small audience, performance did not leave my mind. I had experienced a delightful small series of outdoor shows put on by Talk Is Free Theatre in Barrie, and I was inspired by the positive reception The Musical Stage Company received from its Porchside Songs concerts in 2020.
My vision has always been that this festival could be a wonderful way for people to dip their toes back into the live performance experience, in a safe manner, and then to continue to grow the festival year after year.
The pandemic has taken much, but it has given us time to further explore who we are as a company. Two years ago we made the decision to stop using a facility in town that was not accessible to all. We took a stand regarding accessibility. Now is the time to focus on the priorities of our company. Theatre Collingwood will move forward with a strong, caring phylosophy. We want to provide an accessible and inclusive environment where all of our audience members can see themselves reflected on our stages.
For Summer 2021, we present THE THEATRE COLLINGWOOD PORCHSIDE FESTIVAL, a totally inclusive & accessible series of short plays or concerts highlighting the beautiful historic porches of Collingwood and our diverse and extremely talented array of Canadian artists. Each performance will have 25 socially distanced audience members on their own lawn chairs, enjoying the performances from the lawns of home owners or local businesses. Each performance will have a TC “ambassador” in attendance to ensure that public health protocols are adheared to. This festival will be a litter free event and fulfill our intention to dip our toes into live performance and forge ahead with creative, appreciative and inclusive hearts.
Tickets are $25 (plus HST) each and go on sale Tuesday, June 1st, 2021.