2014-15 Burlington Performing Arts Centre Presents
At the Burlington Performing Arts Centre there was already line ups at the box office to ask questions about the fabulous performances. To get the inside scoop about the new season to share with you, I interviewed the new Executive Director Brian McCurdy.
The new season line up has an additional 30 shows compared to previous years. What new things have been added?
We wanted to try some new offerings and most of the growth has occurred in the Community Studio Theatre with the local theatre companies. In addition we have added a new Royal Opera House Cinema Series and expanded the comedy, jazz and classical series.
The new line-up features a number of Canadian artists – is this an important part of your programming strategy?
Our goal is to have at least 2/3’s of the acts being Canadian and we currently surpass that mark.
How do you go about researching and securing artists for the upcoming season?
We have a good working relationship with the theatre operators in the area and work together to bring in shows. Collaboratively we can offer artists 10-12 dates for a tour making it worthwhile to come to the area. We also attend trade shows where we see new acts and where we can talk to management companies.
Explain the difference between the performances that BPAC presents and other bookings in the centre.
Any performance that is presented by BPAC are acts signed by The Centre and The Centre does the promotion, ticketing and takes on the risk. Other community groups (theatre, music, dance etc.) or professional groups rent the building and BPAC provides the facility and technical support and the events success is the responsibility of the renter. All public events are promoted through our What’s On calendar and clearly identify who is presenting the show.
With a variety of entertainment options available for people, what makes The Burlington Performing Arts Centre theatre experience unique?
Our theatre provides such an intimate experience for audiences it enables you to get up close and personal in both the main and community studio theatres. We strive to offer great customer service so that attendees have a positive experience and want to return. Also our technical capabilities are top of the line – so there is not a bad seat in the house! With such a great facility located right here in Burlington residents no longer need to drive to Toronto to see fabulous performances.
What interesting facts about BPAC would the public not be aware of?
People would probably be surprised at the sheer volume of activities that are happening at the centre. We have 388 days of use in 2014 – which is a very busy schedule.
Also 80% of our audience comes from within 9km of The Centre so our goal is to extend our reach beyond that and promote to niche markets in Hamilton and beyond.
What would your “dream performer” be for the Centre?
I am always looking for interesting international acts.
Have there been some unusual riders requested by performers?
(big laugh) 3 ply toilet paper in the dressing room. Also a group asked for 48 bottles of water plus alcohol.
What series/performance(s) are you most looking forward to and why?
Of course I am looking forward to them all but personally I enjoy the artists that are a little different from what has been offered in the past such as the UTheatre group from Taiwan, Cirque Mechanics: Pedal Punk, the National Ballet of Cuba, plus I am a real Sarah Slean fan.
Any closing comments?
We often hear from the public “I don’t know who these artists are!” All performers are significant artists in their respective genres and I encourage people to take a chance – you won’t be disappointed!
Here is a quick overview of the various series and dates for the season, however we suggest that you check the site often as new performances are added regularly throughout the year plus some may sell out quickly! In fact what I have found really helpful is to sign up to get their newsletter by email so you don’t miss out on seeing some of your new or old favorites.
The Main Stage will once again be filled with some of the most electrifying and diverse performances found anywhere. For those of you who like blues and rock you won’t be disappointed with internationally recognized acts such as Randy Bachman and Colin James. The Entertainers Series also features popular acts such as the Jim Cuddy Band (frontman with Blue Rodeo who I have heard at Sound of Music festival and he was terrific); John McDermott’s annual holiday show; Alan Doyle from Great Big Sea; Sarah Slean; award-winning singer, songwriter Jann Arden (I will be first in line on October 6 when tickets go on sale!); and multi-Juno award winner Chantal Kreviazuk (HINT – a great birthday present… I am just sayin’!)
Expanded this year is the Comedy Series which will be sure to tickle your funny bone and leave you with a smile. Choose from the funniest women in Canada – Women Fully Clothed in Older and Hotter; comedian Shaun Majumder; Veterans of SNL: Rob Schneider, Tim Meadows and Chris Kattan; and the Just for Laughs Road Show. This would be a great night out for our staff team.
The Dance Series features the energy and grace of Ailey II, Toronto Dance Theatre, Nova Dance and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. The Classical Series includes well-known artists Vienna Boys Choir and Canadian Brass. The Global Beat Series allows you to tour the world from your own backyard with Celtic, Chinese, Irish and Cuban performers. The timeless Christmas Classic, The Nutcracker performed by the National Ballet of Cuba will present three performances in December – a great holiday gift idea for that hard to buy for person.
The Jazz Series has been expanded with performances in both the Main theatre and in the cozy Community Studio Theatre which allows the audience to feel like part of the performance you are that close to the stage. Acts such as Oliver Jones Trio, Michael Kaeshammer Trio, Madeleine Peyroux and Art of Time Ensemble and Preservation Hall Jazz Band will surely get your toes tappin’ and head bobbing.
Sit back and relax in the Main Theatre as you enjoy the renowned Royal Opera House Cinema Series held on Wednesday evenings throughout the year.
Studio 440 held in the Community Studio Theatre has returned with remarkable singer songwriters Nathan Rogers, Royal Wood (love his new hit I Want your Love), Quartette, Black Umfolosi, Black Violin, Montreal Guitar Trio, Amanda Martinez, Kellylee Evans and Jane Bunnett & Hilario Duran.
Back by popular demand is the Classical Brunch Series hosted by former co-host of CBC Radio’s As It Happens, Barbara Budd, one of the most recognized voices in Canada. Enjoy a tasty brunch with your friends before the recitals, be delighted by the intimate musical experience in the community theatre and stay after the performance for an enlightening conversation with the featured artist. What a great way to spend a leisurely Sunday!
The Cushion Concert Series is back by popular demand for children ages 2-5 years and promises to be a great way to spend some quality time with your little ones enjoying classic children’s stories. The Family Series will captivate all members of the family with memorable performances that will spark your imagination. Audiences are encouraged to arrive one hour early to participate in the pre-show activities and entertainment. I know the moms and grandparents in our building are looking forward to attending some of these with their wee ones. A new addition the Marvels Series caters to family audiences and includes Outerbridge – Clockwork Mysteries, Famous PEOPLE Players – Good Old Rock & Roll, National Chinese Acrobats and Cirque Mechanics: Pedal Punk.
The Centre is thrilled to be working with four community theatre companies MT Space, Tottering Biped Theatre, Nortesur and KooGle Theatre to showcase local performances which will be running multiple shows. This is an important new program for the community showing excellent area talent.
Buy more and save with series pricing. Purchase any of the BPAC series to receive subscription price or create your own series by selecting 4 or more shows from the season. (restrictions may apply) To order your tickets call 905-681-6000, visit burlingtonpac.ca, or visit the Box Office at 440 Locust Street.
Another locally based program which is not presented by BPAC is the Live and Local Music series held in the Community Studio Theatre – an intimate space with great sound. Set up with “cabaret style” seating (cocktail tables and chairs) the evenings will be relaxed and friendly with patrons being able to enjoy a beverage while watching the performers. Each show will consist of two feature performers with each taking the stage for a one hour set. Dates: September 19, 2014, November 21, 2014, April 10, 2015
So stretch your horizons and enjoy the new offerings at The Centre.