Burning Passions Theatre (BPT) is excited to announce our new Online Theatre Training program, conducted by professional theatre artists, with a particular focus for participants from the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley. As a company that bridges an Eastern Ontario rural/urban divide, we seek to connect with those in this largely underserved catchment area who are seeking an opportunity to hone and expand their interests and skills sets with workshops on set design, video design and stage management. The participants will be both new generation artists and those looking for a career change or enhancement within their theatre practice. Ultimately, we see this work helping grow the creative capacity of the region as we prepare for a post-pandemic return to live theatre.
This project will provide support and resources to isolated and under-served voices, while nurturing and enhancing their artistic practices. This proposal arises from lessons learned during a decade of travel throughout and engagement with artists from the Ottawa Valley and the National Capital region. We have heard the frustration and sadness at the challenges facing a variety of theatre artists, reflecting the underfunded, under-resourced arts sector of the region’s rural residents as well as pockets of diasporic communities in Ottawa itself, where the city’s true diversity is rarely represented on its stages or in its training programs.
Ultimately, these on-line workshops we provide will connect theatre artists across the Valley’s vast geographic area, where in-person gatherings (even pre-pandemic) are limited by travel costs and lack of public transportation, while providing enhanced training opportunities for the region’s theatre artists.
For more information, and to apply, visit bptheatre.ca/online-theatre-training.
Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.
History of Burning Passions Theatre
Founded in 1998 in Toronto, Burning Passions Theatre has focused on women- and youth-centred new work development and the staging of marginalized voices in professional, school, community, and provincial touring theatre projects. Relocating to Perth in 2009 to create the Classic Theatre Festival, we put into practice our belief that theatre acts as a community building catalyst and positive economic driver in underserved settings, expanding professional quality programming in a more economically sustainable environment while offering new generation training opportunities in Eastern Ontario.
Until the pandemic, the Classic Theatre Festival in Perth served as a summertime tourism anchor, offering rarely performed roles in time-tested works, celebrating Canadian talent with enhanced experiences (e.g., pre-show talks, lobby displays situating the social, political, and historic contexts of each play, and post-show dialogue.) Enthusiastic critical response (12 Capital Critics Circle Awards nominations 2016-18) and a loyal audience base reflected an appreciation for modern interpretations of classic plays.
We also created new works based on the area’s storied history, exploring such themes as Indigenous-settler relations at Confederation, the plight of returning WW2 veterans, and economic inequality during the Depression. Ten successful summer seasons reflected our ability to create new programming in untested waters, while providing the foundation for expanding community projects. In 2015 we launched the Listen Up! program for at-risk youth, touring Lanark County with new, locally written plays and talkback sessions on teen suicide, youth homelessness, sexual assault, and gender identity.
Sadly, the Festival was put on hold in the fall of 2020, due to Covid. While this pandemic period prevents us from live production currently, it serves as a portal for us to expand our partnerships and leverage our success through providing online educational and training opportunities and deepening relationships.
For more information on Burning Passions Theatre, please visit bptheatre.ca/story-of-bpt.