Theatre Cambrian becomes 'triple threat' with Gauvreau merger

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jul 30, 2014 - 3:42 PM |
Gauvreau Academy owner Gerry Gauvreau gives some dance instruction at Theatre Cambrian. The two organizations are merging. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Gauvreau Academy owner Gerry Gauvreau gives some dance instruction at Theatre Cambrian. The two organizations are merging. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Veteran dance teacher brings expertise to theatre group

After running a dance and modelling academy in Sudbury for 43 years, Gerry Gauvreau figured he'd earned his retirement, recently deciding to shut down the Elm Street-based business.

Theatre Cambrian — located in a converted church on Eyre Street, just a two-minute walk from the Gauvreau Academy — had other plans.

When Theatre Cambrian president Rod Bazinet heard the academy was closing, he approached Gauvreau and proposed a merger between the two organizations. 

“I didn't know what I was going to do, and I decided I was going to sit and watch the water and watch the grass grow,” said Gauvreau, 67, a Sudbury native who danced on Broadway and on The Carol Burnett Show as a young man.

“Mr. President here wasn't pleased with that. He was aware of the academy ... He said 'Oh, what a great opportunity.' I said 'I don't get where you see the opportunity. I'm retired.'”

In the end, Bazinet prevailed, and convinced Gauvreau to delay his retirement and lend his expertise to the theatre group, which is entering its 30th anniversary season.

Starting this fall, all of Gauvreau Academy's programs — including its Canadian Showcase dance troupe — will be offered at Theatre Cambrian. Gauvreau will still do what he does best — teach.

“Theatre Cambrian will see that it continues the way it is, and it's been great,” Gauvreau said.

Bazinet, best known as one-half of the Sudbury blues group The Bluez Brotherz, said he's excited by the experience Gauvreau brings to Theatre Cambrian.

“He's probably forgotten more stuff that I've ever learned,” he said.

Many of Theatre Cambrian's performers have participated in Gauvreau programs over the years and vice-versa, said Mark Mannisto, the theatre company's executive director.

“We've been feeding each other for 30 years,” he said.

“Now everything's kind of come together. No longer are the performers going to do the shows at Theatre Cambrian and the dancing or the modelling with the Gauvreau Academy.

“Now everything's here. That's the best part about this marriage. We've got the musical theatre side taken care of, we've got a great vocal director, and now we've got a professional dance company as part of the theatre company. We're now a triple threat.”

Those interested in registering for any of the programs offered by Gauvreau Academy or Theatre Cambrian are asked to phone the theatre at 705-524-7317 or visit www.theatrecambrian.ca.

Did you know?

At one time, Gauvreau Academy had more than 2,000 students, but has ramped down to about 450 in recent years. It offers courses in ballet, tap, jazz, pre-dance, musical theatre and modelling.

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Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer


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