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Reinstate an all Canadian policy at the Charlottetown Summer Festival
Petition Background (Preamble):
During the first 20 years of its operation a mandate of producing only original Canadian Theatrical works came into play.
Under Artistic Director Alan Lund, an all musical policy eventually took center stage.
Under that mandate, the Confederation Centre and its Charlottetown Summmer Festival became a tourist based summer showcase of the best of what Canadian artists had to offer.
The Charlottetown Festival soon became the recognized birthplace of musical theatre in Canada.
Anne of Green Gables, Johnny Belinda, Feux Follets, Kronborg:1582, Singin' & Dancin': Tonight all went on to greater success as: record-breaking performances (Anne - 48 years), CBC Super Specials (Johnny Belinda, Feux Follets, Singin'& Dancin') and on Broadway (Anne, Kronborg:1582).
Through these shows - a national identity/pride was born.
The Fathers of Confederation Trust accomplished this by bringing together in Charlottetown a core of actors, writers, composers, and dancers from all across this great country. Actors (literally) left the mainstay of the Toronto theater community and came to the provinces (PEI) to work in one the most exciting think tanks ever assembled in Canada.
It was a time of growth, excitement and pride in Canada's new found artistic achievement in both artist contributions and story development.
Almost half a century old and preparing for an upcoming 50th anniversary, I suggest that the Charlottetown Festival is a mere shadow of its former self. Having abandoned its all Canadian policy, the Fathers of Confederation Trust and Canada's only memorial to the Fathers of Confederation seems content with producing remounts of American musicals.
The past half decade or so has seen a major trend in that direction. True these productions (for the most part) are produced with all Canadian casts and crew but we have our own stories to tell and there are writers and composers of significant talent in Canada to tell them. Our Canadian musical theatre legacy/ The Charlottetown Festival's history not only seems to shout this out but prove it as well.
Under the all Canadian mandate the following Canadian musicals were developed at Charlottetown and produced by the Fathers of Confederation Trust:
Anne of Green Gables
The Adventure of Private Turvey
Life Can Be Like Wow
Private Turvey’s War
Mary, Queen of Scots
On A Summer’s Night
The Legend of the Dumbbells
On A Summer’s Night
Singin’ and Dancin’: Tonight
Alexandra - The Last Empress
In the past 5 years, The Fathers of Confederation Trust offerred us the following American remounts :
Ring of Fire
The Full Monty
Over 30 years ago, Alan Lund stated:
“I feel I have created a very unique thing in theatrical history in this country by introducing original products. They can’t always be the greatest, but out of it we’ve had several hits. You have to take that kind of courage. Anyone can take a musical such as “The Music Man” or a Shakespearian play or a Neil Simon comedy and all they have to do is make the decision to send to New York for the scripts and music. It’s packaged … it’s like buying “Corn Flakes” …. All you have to do is be a smart director and do a good job with it. With originals you have to work very hard to make it work on stage with the right kind of timing, the right kind of orchestrations and creating characters for the very first time." -
With this approach, the Canadian artistic community was writing specifically for Charlottetown.
The current 2012 Confederation Centre web site states:
“Confederation Centre is open year-round and showcases the best in Canadian visual and performing arts”.
With productions of Hairspray, The Full Monty etc. is The Fathers of Confederation Trust now saying, 50 years later, that “Canadian visual and performing arts” includes American works - as long as we pay Canadian actors to perform in them?
What about Canadian content?
Canadian authors, Canadian composers - where do they fit into the phrase Canadian performing arts?
With due respect to the performer's contribution to the artform, I would think that phrase encompasses writers and composers as well.
Why is THE FATHERS OF CONFEDERATION TRUST producing American remounts?
How do you honour the Father’s of Confederation, the independent thinkers/founders of this country who basically said, "Lets break away and form our own identity" - by producing American product?
How do you honour the Fathers of Confederation and encourage Canadian writers and composers by taking away their showcase platform and sending a royalty check to American writers and composers?
Is that original Centennial Dream (to honour the Fathers of Confederation) dead?
It is time for The Fathers of Confederation Trust to honour the spirit of the original founders of this country and the original purpose of the Confederation Centre of the Arts by returning to its original goal - an all Canadian content policy.
Let Canadians show the world, during the two month summer Festival that we have our own stories to tell, competent artists to tell them and we are ready to compete on the world stage.
The Reinstate an all Canadian policy at the Charlottetown Summer Festival petition to The Board of Directors and The Chief Executive Officer of the Charlottetown Summer Festival was written by John Frederick Brown and is in the category Arts & Entertainment at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: charlottetown festival, fathers of confederation trust, alan lund, anne of green gables, canadian musicals, jfrederickbrown