I’ve been in Fort McMurray for a little over two years now and there are two things that consistently fascinate, surprise and capture me up here among the rolling hills and deep boreal forest. My first fascination is the sky – how high it is, how vast. Even when it’s overcast there seems to be an incredible amount of space between the top of my head and that hypnotizing sky. There is room to think up here. To let thoughts expand upwards and outwards – I can live through my thoughts without staying inside the confines of my head. Typing it out makes me realize that perhaps this isn’t something everyone experiences – one day I’ll have to explain it better.
My second surprise as a Fort McMurrian is the arts community in general and the theater scene in particular. During my two tiny years as a YMM resident, I’ve been able to experience several highly well-made and moving productions, ranging from self-written one-woman shows to productions involving enormous casts, bands and crew with stunning design and all the trimmings. However, it doesn’t stop where the stage ends; the arts can’t be contained to just the theater – everywhere I look films are being made, dance taught and beautiful pottery created. There is stunning photography and poetry and paintings coming into existence all around this town of ours – there is culture and conversation. There is art happening all around – whether we recognize it as such or not.
To me, the definition of art is the ability to extract something that exists inside of you – a thought, a feeling, a beat – and translating it to our realm. Art exists in the forth dimension; we use tools of this world to explain something else entirely. There is something about art – something that makes it tangible while allowing it to remain abstract. We are giving a part of ourselves to everyone who views it, we give that piece of ourselves and have it returned tenfold.
I have always been drawn to the arts – theater especially – but I have never studied it outside the confines of my own home and head. It came almost as a chock to me that theater and acting is something that can be a part of my life, even-though I never studied it, never got to take drama in high school or attend a program. Loving every aspect of art – whether I understand it’s purpose or not, whether a purpose exists or is even relevant – I find myself consistently drawn to the people here who are making it happen. The ones that see the potential and the passion that simmers just under the surface – the creators and the mentors and the inspirators.
One such group is Theatre; Just Because, founded by the long time friends Michelle Thorne and Danna-Rae Evasiuk. They offer workshops in how to produce your own play, how to read a script, what to look for when casting. It’s a combination of juggling ideas, solid advice and being inspired by the other visions surrounding you. For someone like me, workshops, events and – most of all – people such as these makes arts a reality in my life. It adds that other dimension to my everyday life and makes it tangible, doable and most of all – fun! I do love having fun.
“Community theatre isn’t just important, it’s necessary. Because it’s theatre happening against the odds. It’s theatre closest to the bone as people work against schedules and families and jobs and on no budget.
Theatre needs to happen no matter how it happens.”
Speaking of arts in Fort McMurray!
Tonight I’m hosting the igNIGHT bus tour, taking you on a free tour around town to see the art displayed and learn a little more about each piece and the artists! Six installations throughout the urban service area will light up the night. The tour begins at 8 p.m. every evening from Oct. 23 to Nov. 1, 2015. Special performances will be held on Oct. 23 and 30.
Visit www.rmwb.ca/ignight to book your FREE bus tour!