Last month, the students of the Capitol School of Performing Arts performed not one, but two full-length plays at the end of their semester. (I sit on the School’s Advisory Board, and on its Marketing Committee.) One of them was Departures and Arrivals, a play by noted Canadian author/playwright Carol Shields. In a remarkably innovative move, the cast actually staged one of their performances at the Moncton International Airport. Not long after, the School received this email:
“I am the husband of the late Carol Shields, the playwright and author. My family and I were pleased and impressed that a group such as yours would take this initiative when performing Carol Shields’ work. What a great idea to actually put on a play about people in an airport – in an airport.
And we understand that you also translated the play into French. Bravo.
Good luck to you all. Don Shields”
All my marketing instincts kicked in, and I asked Mr. Shields if he would be kind enough to let us use his praise in our marketing materials. He replied:
“Hello Stephen: I have reviewed what I said, and find no reason not to say “yes” to your request. So, yes, please go ahead and use anything that you might find helpful.
I was on the board of the Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg at one time. We too had a theatre school (in fact that is how the Prairie Theatre Exchange got started). A theatre school is a wonderful endeavour for children and young adults.
Keep up the good work. Don”
I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Shields that theatre schools are wonderful for young adults, but they’re also wonderful for the theatres. By teaching a love and interest in performing arts to young people, you are building your future audience. I tried to think how I could apply that logic to training future bar customers. Teach kids to do shooters? Not really practical (or legal). But a bar owner could sponsor boys and girls clubs, and start teaching them the pleasure of gathering in a location away from home to have fun with friends…