Though I obviously haven't managed to make this a regular weekly feature, I'll still be throwing around some more Cool People Doing Cool Things, you know, for your own good. So this time around, meet Patrick Gauthier.
Among many many job titles to his name, Patrick is the Festival Producer of the undercurrents "theatre below the mainstream" Festival. Tonight marks the opening night of the festival, now entering it's sophomore year and recently called one of the most 'promising developments in the (Ottawa) theatre scene in the past few years.' The festival serves a much needed purpose for indie theatre companies looking to go beyond that 'Fringe Festival' status, but who don't have the resources (audience, funds, ect.) to fill one of those big fancy-schmancy places like the Oiving Greenberg (TM - The Visitorium). In fact, one of the ideas behind the undercurrents Festival was to give these indie performers access to the Great Canadian Theatre Company's regular audience base. And it seems to be working: in it's inaugural year, the festival had a whopping 86% attendance rate!
(ed. note - after posting this blog update, I learned that one show is already completely sold out - Live from the Belly of a Whale - which was also directed by Patrick Gauthier. It seems the festival is well on its way to beat last years attendance records and it hasn't even opened yet. Better get your tickets now for all the other great productions. Congratulations, Pat!)
If you read about how crazy excited I was for the Next Stage Theatre Festival, you can probably imagine how I am feeling about undercurrents. You guys, this is going to be shitballz fantastic! (somebody quote me on that)
So what makes a successful theatre festival in NancyKenny's book?
- Keep it small - I hate missing out on things. With only 6 productions at undercurrents, I can easily catch them all.
- Keep it cheap - I want to see everything! I can't do that if I can't afford it. A $60 Flex pass gives you access to every single show at $10 a pop. Amazing! (Or you can claim blogger status, that sometimes works too...)
- Keep it central - in this case, one venue means no running around to catch the next production, which means more time to hang around, drink and socialize. Because to me, theatre is a communal thing. I want to talk to you about what you've seen so far, what was good, and is Pat Gauthier wearing new Converse shoes?
- Keep it casual and easy - No theatre festival is complete without ample beverage opportunities and undercurrents has pretty much become the greatest theatre festival in the world by allowing drinks inside the theatre. This means no chugging wine (ew!) at the last minute so that you don't miss your start time. It's the little things, you know?
This is all so great that I'll be heading up to Ottawa this weekend to marathon my way through all the shows. I'll talk about individual productions later on in the week, but for now I just want to extend a very big thank you to Pat Gauthier and the Great Canadian Theatre Company for putting together this little gem of a theatre festival. undercurrents is just what the doctor ordered.
As always, I'll be seeing you at the theatre!