It was sometime in May and I had been in isolation with my Father in Calgary for about two months when I got the call from Donna Butt, the AD at Rising Tide Theatre in Trinity Newfoundland. Though there would be no public performances for the summer, she was bringing together a small core company that would work at the theatre; going through and organizing archives, writing, workshopping shows, and filming segments of productions from past years. As I’d been a member of the company for seven years, with works in development and shows that I’d performed that would be filmed, would I be interested in coming out? Of course.
Trinity Newfoundland is one of my favourite places, both for the scenery and the people (and the freshwater swimming!) so I jumped at the chance. We had to apply for an exemption which was luckily approved. A few days before my two weeks in isolation was over I got a message that the province had approved the theatre to perform for small audiences.
But how!? It was a lot to figure out. We ended up with a small core company that performed to crowds made up exclusively of Newfoundlanders enjoying a “Stay Home” year. I performed in the “Trinity Pageant” (which has been a mainstay of the company since it started performing in Trinity in 1993) as well as a musical variety and skit show, “Shenanigans” which I helped put together some of the music for. Audiences were socially distanced, wore masked when they came in to the theatre, and the cast got to do what we love: Perform.
I don’t take lightly how lucky I was, to be the sole mainlander in the company and to have even gotten into the province given how many friends and even family members who were denied entry. And it was a beautiful summer, performing, fishing, whale watching, berry picking, hiking, bon-firing, and swimming! (Did I mention I’m a fan of the freshwater swimming?!). I was also given time to write a new draft of the play I’ve been working on “A Summer in Newfoundland” which we read at the end of the summer.
It’s great to be back in Calgary with my Father, but I do miss my Newfoundlanders.