Okay, what now?

One can imagine the people responsible for the Slave Lake Legacy Centre asking that question. We’ve got this big, nice new facility. How do we make it work? Where is the money going to come from?
One way, obviously, is by bookings. There is an ‘If you build it – they will come,’ leap-of-faith aspect to the whole enterprise. Nobody in Slave Lake has ever done anything quite like it. It’s a bit like stepping off a cliff and not knowing if your parachute is going to work.
Okay, enough of the metaphors. About 17 months into its existence the Legacy Centre – notwithstanding various drawbacks – has turned into the go-to place for musical concerts and stage plays. It is more expensive for those groups to rent, yes. And the bleacher seating leaves something to be desired; and it can be too damned cold. But that big, beautiful stage; and that lighting and that sound system.
After its first full-fledged stage production (the Slave Lake Musical Theatre Association’s ‘100 Lunches’), some useful things about this new space were learned. One is that without bigger audiences, the SLMTA will go broke. Another is that it is not easy to stage a proper show when you can’t practice on the set. And practicing on the set isn’t affordable. How to mitigate that going forward isn’t clear. What is clear is that in spite of that drawback, the cast and crew of 100 Lunches had a great experience and want to do more of it.
So far, so good.
It certainly is possible to build bigger audiences. If you put on good shows, and do it consistently, word of mouth does its thing and people in greater numbers will stir themselves off the couch. Twenty bucks to see a good stage play is not unreasonable.
Stage North, with its series of concerts, is proof of the above assertion. When it started doing its shows back in the old St. Peter’s Ecumenical Church 10 years ago or so, audiences were tiny – sometimes embarrassingly so. But with hard work, solid community sponsorship and faith that they were onto something good, it built. By the time the Legacy Centre opened in 2016, they were ready to take a risk that entailed the possibility of greater reward. So far, we think, it has worked.
Can it work for stage plays? Why not!

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