There’s so much more to an arts and culture venue than four walls and a roof.
Since the Trail and District Arts Council took the reigns to run the Charles Bailey Theatre with an enterprising three-year plan, there’s been about 50 per cent more shows and a few past renters back on the stage.
“We are not just providing a space,” says theatre manager Nadine Tremblay. “We are really about developing a culture around performance and art. And so far, before we’ve tallied all the numbers and sent out all the surveys, there’s indication that things are moving in the direction we are aiming.”
Tremblay signed on as the marketing and public relations person for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) last July, and has been steadfast in improving the theatre’s visibility while bringing in acts for all ages, including a children’s series that is growing in popularity.
She said there’s three levels of art: supply, access and demand. The latter being, TDAC’s assurance that the audience experience is fully encompassing.
“That has a lot to do with working with children,” explained Tremblay. “Making sure they understand the value of art, so they can hear it, feel it, see it, and be empathetic for other cultures.
“Because nothing makes you appreciate art more than if you’ve created it, done it and participated in it for yourself.”
Access to the theatre is another aspect to her job, which means the venue is fully operational, available for rent, and the arts council supports and promotes incoming shows.
In the last year, Tremblay has developed a press kit for renters, a newsletter, a large audience on Facebook and soon, the option of purchasing tickets on line.
“I am really looking forward to this because we are now available for programming grants,” said Tremblay, referring to the non-profit TDAC. “That means we can get even more of the artist costs subsidized, which helps a lot because then we can lower ticket prices.”
For example, Tremblay is bringing in well known Canadian children’s music performer Fred Penner as part of an upcoming fall series. The subsidy can help cover Penner’s fees, which in the end will help lower the cost for the entire children’s series.
“I want people to come for Fred Penner because they know who he is,” she said. “But I am going to keep them coming by showing them what else is out there.”
Her aspiration is to introduce lesser known artists to the community, because their performances are also colourful and uplifting.
“I am sure they will be blown away by the dance company I hired from Montreal,” said Tremblay. “And the amazing trio of beat-boxing and classical musicians from Vancouver that I’ve hired.”
Looking into the second year of the plan, Tremblay said the focus is (pending) capital improvements, such as ventilation upgrades and air conditioning.
“These are all hopes,” she said. “I am really looking forward to it, because not to sound flaky, but the value of art is really about being a whole human being.”
With the first year nearing end, Tremblay and TDAC President Ray Masleck approached Trail council Monday with a request, which they received, for ongoing support and $5,000 cash contribution.
“As we continue to seek funds, particularly capital funds for the building, I think this (Trail council support) is an important part of the picture for us,” said Masleck.
The money will be used for general operations, adding to $18,000 from Columbia Basin Trust, $18,000 from the RDKB, as well as $2,000 from Teck Metals and BCArtsVest.