After two years, Encore Theatre is still trying to find its identity as a theatre company, but according to Founding Artistic Director Callam Rodya, they have found a stronger foothold than they did in their first season.
Encore Theatre’s second season has come to a close and will soon be unveiling its third season. Encore’s artists have said the past year has been an interesting journey in continuing to find the identity of the theatre company.
The first year had many challenges and complications that influenced the original season lineup, but this year, things seemed to have progressed without a hitch.
“We’ve produced a full season this year. I think that was a real success for us being able to announce a season and produce the full season, and I think we produced three well-done productions that were received well by our audiences and critics,” Rodya said. “It feels to me, personally, as our real first complete season.”
The second season saw an entirely Canadian theatre lineup with a variety of genres.
First was “Alphonse”, a light-hearted almost dream-like adventure. Then there was “Lenin’s Embalmers” a dark comedy. The season ended with “The Monument”, a dark post-war drama.
Associate Artist Matthew Heiti said it wasn’t their sole focus to stay with Canadian works, but was a result of being part of the Canadian playwriting industry.
Also, each play featured a different director to bring different approaches and visions to the stage. Founding Artist, Jenny Hazelton, said it gives variety to the work put on by Encore.
“I think, to some degree, we latched onto the projects that interested us instead of assigning directors at random or one person to direct the entire season. We wanted to put people in roles where their strengths could really shine.”
However, there can always be some complications in any stage of a company.
“It’s important not to let your guard down,” Rodya said. “In the pursuit of three strong artistic productions, we lost a bit of sight on the larger picture, which is kind of sharing Encore’s identity publicly. I think as a result of our limited resources and size as a company we weren’t able to do a lot of the things.”
He said many aspects of running a theatre company come from outside of the productions, like marketing and building public relations.
“The biggest lesson that we can take out of this season is that, no matter how good the work is, you still have to work your ass off and it’s really important not to forget that and discount the other facts of running a theatre company that exist out of a production,” he said.
Encore Theatre will soon be releasing its third-season lineup, and although they would not go into detail about the productions at this time, Encore artists said audiences can expect a high priority on works that are a bit “closer to home.”
“We are now looking at areas we’ve been wanting to do when we started (the company), and we’re taking them very seriously as we head into this season,” Rodya said.