Theatre creates vibrant communities

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Summer is just around the corner and we will, once again, welcome visitors by the thousands to share in the beauty of our natural and creative culture.

The importance of the theatre scene and the richness of our cultural offerings is key to the success we enjoy in Cow Head. Theatre Newfoundland Labrador is a draw that brings people to us, staying in our accommodations, enjoying our food, purchasing our crafts and taking in two performances daily at the Warehouse Theatre and next door in the Ethie Room.

When you look at recent stats on how Canadians feel about theatre, this is no surprise. Canadians like theatre; in fact, they love it. Across the country, eight of 10 Canadians believe theatre is an important part of local culture and tourism.

In Cow Head and the iconic Gros Morne National Park, Theatre Newfoundland Labrador is a central part of the tourist value proposition. People come to Newfoundland for the natural vacation spots, so what better way to extend that vacation than to provide theatre based on our local history and culture?

In a world where we are increasingly tethered to devices and flat screens, the fact that eight out of 10 Canadians are theatre lovers is impressive. While reality TV and social media may enthrall users and viewers worldwide, none of these entertainments will have the lasting cultural and economic impact that the Gros Morne Theatre Festival has on Cow Head. It is a symbiotic relationship.

The community is constantly sharing with the theatre company and the theatre company is constantly sharing with the community.

Theatres in Newfoundland also support business growth. Live theatre is the heartbeat of our communities, generating energy, excitement and enthusiasm, and making them destinations of choice for cultural tourists.

Beyond economics, live theatre is a human experience. It has the power to touch us, enrich us and reflect us in ways unique to theatre.

In this little town of 500, any night of the week in the summer you can see professional live theatre.

The plays people come to see are those like “Tempting Providence,” written by Robert Chafe and directed by Jillian Keiley, that are birthed in our part of the world, but that transcend borders and speak to audiences around the world.

“Tempting Providence” tells the story of British midwife Myra Bennett, who arrived in Newfoundland from London, England, in 1921 after hearing about the desperate need for nurses and midwives in Newfoundland’s rural communities.

Theatre Newfoundland Labrador commissioned the play in 2000, opened it in 2002 and for the next 11 years performed it 621 times to more than 100,000 people. It toured  154 communities in nine Canadian provinces, one territory, England, Scotland, Ireland, the U.S. and Australia.

It doesn’t matter if people see the play in our Warehouse Theatre, 45 minutes from Nurse Myra Bennett’s heritage home in Daniel’s Harbour, or in Launceston, Tasmania, the story speaks to the audience and they somehow relate and respond, every time.

These are the kind of stories written, developed and produced for theatres across the country every year. Is it any wonder that Canadians value this art form so highly and want to see it continue to thrive?

So, come and be amazed by our landscapes, and be moved, tickled and invigorated by our stories. You will take home the best souvenir imaginable: the thrilling experience of live theatre.

Gaylene Buckle, general manager

Theatre Newfoundland Labrador

Cow Head

Organizations: Warehouse Theatre, Gros Morne Theatre

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Cow Head, Gros Morne National Park England London Scotland Ireland U.S. Australia Launceston Tasmania

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