A new initiative from ON THE BOARDS
Thanks to a new partnership with Brainsport, ON THE BOARDS is celebrating the inaugural location – 704 Broadway – of The Open Storefront Project: an empty storefront handed over to performing artists for the creation of theatre – and for the first time, the public can watch it happening!
“This is a win-win-win situation,” says Brian Michasiw owner of Brainsport. “I want to sublease my storefront. And rather than it sitting dark and empty, I now have a place that is active and drawing attention. The business street wins because there is something new and interesting happening in an otherwise empty spot on the street. The artists win because they have a place to work that is warm and safe, and the city wins because there is more art to enjoy and a more vibrant business area.”
ON THE BOARDS (OTB) Executive Director, Cynthia Dyck, came up with the concept to utilize unused storefronts for the city’s performing groups needing spaces to rehearse their plays. “At OTB we have been working with indie-theatres helping them put their shows on stage at The Refinery for well over a decade. A chronic problem is ad-hoc companies don’t have the means to pay for the space they need for the required five or more weeks of rehearsal. This September, for instance, two indie companies were rehearsing in their backyard garages. And only one was heated.”
“As relieved as I am to get these indie-companies into a heated building, the real thrill is to be able to bring a different live-theatre experience to people in Saskatoon. People will see ‘the other side’ of theatre.”
“The windows of these storefronts will literally and figuratively pull back the curtain inviting passers-by to look in and watch what is happening. We are going to expose a part of theatre that is traditionally kept hidden, not keep onlookers out.”
The Open Storefront Project is opening up new ways for the public to engage in the performing arts happening in their community.