With the Prince Edward Community Theatres (PECT) 12th season having ramped up and flared open in Oct., the theatre group’s first production,“Blood Relations” has already set box office records for a PECT season-opening production and the local community theatre company has set a new record for the number of season subscribers.
“Blood Relations” by Sharon Pollock, was the groups first show of their three show season that runs from October to May and is also one of two entries PECT has put into the Eastern Ontario Drama League Festival (EODLF).
“So far, the community support we’ve had this season has been outstanding. The reception to the opening production Blood Relations was unprecedented,” expressed Lynn Fennell, Founder and current President of PECT. “Normally the opening production, depending on the nature of it, kicks off the season where the audiences gradually increase as we move forward and culminating in the Spring production in May which is usually where we have our largest audience- our greatest reception if you will. But in this case, “Blood Relations” received an extraordinary reception right from the onset , and so the community at large have been amazing at supporting us throughout our now 12th season.”
The theatre group accepts non experienced and experienced actors with the vast majority of the group being ‘rank amateurs’ with no background in theatre. All you need to participate is an interest and a willingness to make a commitment to a production. Keep in mind auditions will be coming soon.
“So some of our participants have a background in theatre training but the vast majority do not, they come as amateurs as the saying goes, and they grow into whatever the rolls may be as they gain the experience,” Fennell said. “I’ve seen a lot of community theatre in the region and outside of it over the last number of years and I would say generally speaking for a community of our size, and all things considered, I don’t think PECT needs to take a back seat to any community theatre in the region as far as I’m concerned. I’ll condition that by saying, we don’t have the same resources, obviously we’re still new to this with only our 12th season, but at the same time I think it needs to be said the quality of the productions and the entertainment value people get for their dollar is as good as you’ll find anywhere.”
Fennell expressively shared how the first play had an outstanding cast with particularly the four women and principally the three characters, Lizzy, Bridget and Emma- One of whom was entirely new to theatre.
Having entered last year into the EODLF, the theatre group’s Fall production in 2018 “The Glass Menagerie” received two awards.
With “Blood Relations” already adjudicated by EODLF, the group’s March production, “The Ladies Foursome” will be the first time they’ve entered a second performance into the Festival.
“I’m excited about this whole process primarily because it exposes the participants of those productions to the adjudication process,” said Fennell. “It’s meant to be a learning exercise based on the comments and feedback we receive from these professional theatre adjudicators. We can than apply what they offer to us to improve our productions and to make ourselves better performers or better directors to improve overall the quality of what we present to our patrons, and that for me is the bottom line of all of this.”
Ticket prices for the shows are kept as low as the group can possible afford in order to encourage people to attend and are $17 a show at the door.
“Our ticket prices are kept as low and we encourage everyone- Even those who maybe don’t have a long standing interest in theatre to attend. Ultimately we end up building a subscription base of primarily residents of Prince Edward County who like what they saw and decided they want to support it by invest in the season subscriptions. I would say we’re certainly in good condition. We’ve established an audience and that audience has come back season after season as it continue’s to grow based on the quality of the productions they see and the economy of attending any of our productions,” the founder added.
The non-profit organization continually look for new faces and new people to participate in whatever manner they feel they want to and Fennell wanted to make sure the invitation to join was out there.
“I would like to emphasize for people who are considering getting involved, they don’t need a background in theatre, all they need is an interest and a willingness to make a commitment to a production,” Fennell told The Gazette. “I hope that encourages people who are curious and maybe would like to give it a shot, whether onstage or backstage, to take the plunge and find out if this theatre group is something you’ll actually enjoy!”
Tickets for the up and coming production in March, “The Ladies Foursome” by Norm Foster, directed by Jennifer Sills, are available online through Saveallbonnie@gmail.com and could be offered as christmas gifts for people who are thinking about sending friends or themselves to see an upcoming production.
For more information please visit pecommtheatre.ca