A Clinton resident is testing the waters to see if there is enough interest in the community to stage a theatre group.
Jordan Haley Johnston, who moved to Clinton 18 months ago from Rocky Mountain House, says she’s been thinking about different ways to get people engaged and bring them out. A theatre group seemed to be a natural idea, given her background.
“I did drama in high school and middle school and joined community theatre in Rocky Mountain House as an actor for a couple of shows. I also directed The Little Mermaid in 2018.”
Although there is a theatre group in 100 Mile House, she felt that was a little too far away for people in Clinton to be able to participate, particularly in winter. “Having it in Clinton makes it more accessible to seniors, and it means we can have youth involved as well.”
Johnston met with Clinton Mayor Susan Swan to see if a theatre group was feasible, particularly in regard to the space available for rehearsals and performances.
“The Memorial Hall is set up with a stage, and there’s also a stage in Reg Conn Park, so we could use one for winter and one for summer. The mayor suggested that we could have rehearsal space at the school or the seniors’ centre, but bringing people in to rehearse could be a bad idea with COVID-19.”
Before they can think about rehearsals and productions, however, Johnston says a committee needs to be formed, in order to start looking at all angles of putting on a show.
“I have lots of connections for the production angle. Clinton is nice and small, and I’ve already had a lot of people reach out to me saying they’d like to help get it started.”
One woman who has reached out is a musician, and Johnston says that she’s not trying to place any limits on what they might do.
“We need more things for people to do, and it’s a way to give back to the community. I’m not just looking for actors and performers; I’m looking for people who want to be involved with sets and building the play up. And I’m looking for audience members.”
Johnston sees theatre as a great way to involve youth, and is looking for actors aged 12 and up. “We need kids who are good at reading and can take direction. And if kids have an opportunity to watch theatre, they gain an interest in participating in it.”
Eventually, she says, she would like to be able to do two plays a year. “I’m thinking that we would meet once a week and do two productions a year: maybe a Christmas show and a summer show. We can discuss the logistics later.
“I want to start something that is as inclusive as possible, and also be able to give something back to the community.”
The first priority is getting board members together and assembling a list of potential actors, musicians, and members of the production team. Johnston adds that any ideas about fundraising or grants would be appreciated and that she would be interested in hearing about possible rehearsal spaces.
“I want to get a group together and start working on funding, and get the right first script, but we need to get our ducks in a row so we can effectively and efficiently start a theatre group when the time is right. It would be great to get as much local interest as possible in the producing and acting part, as well as in the attending part.
“I’m trying to build excitement in having a group like this in Clinton. I feel it’s something the community as a whole would appreciate.”
Anyone interested in being part of a Clinton theatre group, or who would like to indicate audience support, can contact Johnston at email@example.com or at (250) 457-3166.