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Guardian guest opinion: Adam Brazier – Casting Our Eyes to the next 50 years at CCOA

October 6, 2014

From The Guardian newspaper, October 6, 2014:  

Change is never easy. It is often far more work and almost always frightening. Change is even harder to make the longer routine is held. 

I believe "Because that's how we've always done it" is the second most dangerous sentence in the world, the first being, "Does this look infected?" Theatre is ethereal and lives only in the moment that it is shared with an audience. When it is produced skillfully it is electric and hypnotic. It is a link to our past, our present, and our future. Theatre must change and evolve in order to survive and stay relevant. Theatre must reach beyond today's audience and grab hold of tomorrow's.

It was on this day, October 6 1964, that Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Lester Pearson, and our buzzing local community officially opened Confederation Centre of the Arts to the world. Today, in 2014, we have spent a wonderful anniversary year looking back upon our national legacy, one that is matched by very few. As I begin my time as artistic director and we approach the announcement of The 2015 Charlottetown Festival, we cast our eyes ahead to the next 50 years. Where do we see ourselves and how do we continue to fit within both our strong Island community and the national and global cultural landscapes? What assets and advantages do we hold in our hands? I would like to take this opportunity to articulate my vision for our stages over the years to come.

I would like to infuse our programming with honesty, joy, laughter, and love. I want us all "to celebrate Canada's evolving nationhood by showcasing our heritage and our visual and performing arts and artists." Not because this is the word-for-word mandate of The Charlottetown Festival, but because this is exactly what we all need. Through our renewed commitment to developing new Canadian works, we aim to challenge our imaginations and inspire our hearts. For theatre, like all the arts, is good for your heart, is good for your mind, and is good for your soul. It is through the sharing of our stories that our culture survives the hardships of time. It is our confessional, our therapist, our escape, and our truth. It is by gathering as a community to watch and share in a common experience, that we find the magic of theatre. I hope that the stages of Confederation Centre of the Arts can be a place of celebration. Celebration of the human spirit, celebration of ourselves, and celebration of our great country. I aim to ask big questions and always seek a truthful result; to be a voice for and against; to seek out what is the core of our being and present that with honesty and passion. We will produce new works, classics, plays, musicals, and concerts. We will develop new scripts and re-imagine old ones, staying current without ever forgetting the brilliant past we have all shared.

I invite you to join us as we continue to evolve and change, as we grow and learn together -- together on and off our stages, in our audiences, and in our hearts. I look forward to forging new bonds in this great community and opening our doors to new audiences. I am so very honoured to be working for Confederation Centre and so very proud to call myself an Islander by Choice!

Adam Brazier, artistic director
Confederation Centre of the Arts  – Canada’s National Memorial to Confederation

Photo: A Pathé News still of the official opening of Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, P.E.I. on October 6, 1964 (image courtesy Earle's Photo Restoration).