We are now in a moment when Nova Scotia is seeking to redefine the roles artists by exploring forms that are not fixed in government, but instead take root in principles of production and distribution, which are more economically driven. The inherent danger is cultivating a practice for the sake of consumption. The crucial issue is the manner in which art is commodified and how that changes the art and culture of this place. Could we be looking at the de-artificiation of art, or an industry that cheats its consumers of what it promises?
I lived out of a suitcase for 3 years. I kept landing in Halifax and the Nova Scotia area. I worked with a lot of talented people, good people. I saw work from some of the theatre companies: Ship’s Company, Festival Antigonish, Two Planks and a Passion, and more. I hung around the Atlantic Fringe Festival, which had a vibrant, fun energy. Halifax is the home of Neptune Theatre, the biggest theatre company in the Atlantic Provinces. At the time, there was a booming TV and film industry. The theatre community was warm and welcoming. Halifax was just big enough, and not too big.
Let’s try to imagine how people who are not part of the theatre community might feel about going to see a show. They might not even realize it’s going on. Or maybe they do realize, but they don’t feel welcome. My boyfriend didn’t see much theatre in Halifax before we started dating. I asked him why. He said the independent theatres seem to a lot of people to be “prohibitively cool”, which isn’t, I don’t think, the kind of cool we’re going for.