Transcript: Spirit of Blyth | May 09, 1988

A woman in her forties appears. She has short straight brown hair and is wearing a yellow blouse.

She says I THINK WHAT HAS
DEVELOPED HERE IS A
REAL THEATRE-GOING AUDIENCE.
THEY HEAR SOMETHING'S
COMING, PUT UP THE SIGNS
AND OUT THEY COME.
AND IT'S A MIRACLE.
YOU'RE RIGHT, IT IS.
I DON'T KNOW
HOW IT HAPPENED.

Music plays, as clips of a hockey match, signs by the road, and a mime play. A title at the end reads "Spirit of Blyth."

Joan sits on a park bench. She is in her fifties, has short curly brown hair, and is wearing a white shirt, and a blue skirt.

Joan says HELLO, I'M JOAN
REED-OLSEN.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE FUTURE
OF A 55-YEAR-OLD COMMUNITY
CENTRE IS THREATENED?
WELL, IN BLYTH, ONTARIO,
A SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE
REACTED SO VIGOROUSLY THAT
TODAY THE BLYTH CENTER FOR
THE ARTS ENJOYS A NATIONAL
REPUTATION WHILE MAINTAINING
ITS ORIGINAL ROLE AS
A COMMUNITY CENTRE.
THIS YEAR THE THEATRE
HAS HAD 26,000 VISITORS.
THAT'S ABOUT 5,000
MORE THAN LAST YEAR.
THE THEATRE HOLDS ABOUT 500
AND THIS YEAR, THE SEASON
HAS BEEN EXTENDED
FROM 9 TO 10 WEEKS.
HOW IS IT THAT A THEATRE
SET IN A LARGE RURAL AREA
ATTRACTS GOOD DIRECTORS,
GOOD ACTORS, FOR ALL
CANADIAN PLAYS?
HOW DO THEY MANAGE TO STAY
OUT OF THE RED FINANCIALLY?
WELL, I THINK ENTHUSIASM
IS THE OPERATIVE WORD.
ENTHUSIASM IN THE COMMUNITY,
IN THE THEATRE, ITS BOARD OF
DIRECTORS, AND NOT LEAST THE
ENTHUSIASM OF ITS ARTISTIC
DIRECTOR JANET AMOS.

Janet sits on a wicker chair. She is in her forties, has short straight brown hair and is wearing a yellow blouse.

She says IN 1975, THERE WAS A MOVE AFOOT
TO TEAR THE BUILDING DOWN.
IT HAD BEEN BUILT IN 1920,
AND WAS NOT IN VERY GOOD
SHAPE, AND THERE WAS A
CONTRACTOR WANTED THE
CONTRACT TO TEAR IT DOWN.
AND A GROUP OF PEOPLE IN
VILLAGE DECIDED TO TRY AND
RAISE THE MONEY TO SAVE IT,
AMONG THEM EVELINA WEBSTER
AND KEITH RALSTON, AND THE
TOWN COUNCIL
SAID, WELL, WHY?
I MEAN WHO USES IT?
WHAT DO WE NEED IT FOR?
AS THEY SO OFTEN DO, IT'S
JUST MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN.
AND THEY SAID, WELL, IF WE
RAISE THE MONEY AND GET
SOMETHING ON THERE IN
THE SUMMER, CAN WE TRY?

Joan says EVELINA WEBSTER AND EWELA
MCGOWAN, TWO OF THE PRIME
MOVERS IN THE SUCCESSFUL
EFFORT TO SAVE THE CENTRE
ARE JUSTLY PROUD
OF THE ACHIEVEMENT.

Evelina Webster is in her seventies, has short curly blond hair, and is wearing a flowery blouse.

Ewela McGowan is in her seventies, has short braided gray hair, and is wearing a pale blue blouse.

Evelina says WELL, IT WAS STARTED TO
COMMEMORATE THE VETERANS
OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR.
AND IT WAS THE REEVES FROM
THE DIFFERENT TOWNSHIPS,
PLUS SOME OF THE DIGNITARIES
OF BLYTH... Dr. MILLEN WAS ONE,
AND HE WAS ONE OF THE MAIN
ONES THAT GOT IT GOING.

Ewela says I REMEMBER WHEN WE CAME
HERE, THE HALL WASN'T BEING
USED HARDLY AT ALL.
THAT WAS NOT TOO LONG
AFTER, THAT WAS 1947, AND
TELEVISION WAS FAIRLY NEW,
AT LEAST THE STATION UP
HERE WAS NEW.
AND EVERYBODY WAS SO BUSY
LISTENING TO TELEVISION THAT
THERE WEREN'T ANY MORE
CONCERTS, HALL CONCERTS,
SO IT REALLY WASN'T BEING
USED AS A CONCERT HALL.

Evelina says NO.

Ewela continues MOST OF THE SENIOR CITIZENS
AND OLDER PEOPLE WHO HAD
BEEN HERE WHEN IT WAS BUILT,
RIGHT AWAY, MADE A HUGE
GREAT CRY OF, DON'T TEAR
DOWN THE HALL, WHATEVER YOU DO.
WE BUILT THAT
AS A MEMORIAL.
AND I THINK IT WAS DUE TO
THE ACTION OF THE PEOPLE,
THE SENIOR PEOPLE WHO HAD
BEEN HERE WHEN IT WAS BUILT
THAT IT WASN'T
DEMOLISHED OR CHANGED.

Janet says THE SENIOR CITIZENS OF BLYTH
RAISED 5,000 DOLLARS TO SAVE THE
THEATRE, THROUGH GRANTS AND
THROUGH DONATIONS AND SO ON.
AND THAT SUMMER, THEY GOT
JAMES ROY TO DO THE FIRST
SEASON OF THE FESTIVAL, AND
THEY DID TWO PLAYS THAT SUMMER.
THEY DID
MOSTLY IN CLOVER,
AN ADAPTATION OF A NOVEL BY
HARRY BOYLE, AND THEY DID
THE
MOUSE TRAP
BY AGATHA CHRISTIE.
AND MUCH TO THEIR SURPRISE,
THE PLAY THAT WAS REALLY
SUCCESSFUL WAS THIS PLAY,
MOSTLY IN CLOVER, AND SO
WITH THEIR HUGE... THEY
CAME OUT IN THE BLACK.
I THINK THEY MADE ABOUT
600 DOLLARS THAT SUMMER, AND
THEY TOOK THAT MONEY AND
THEY PUT IT TOWARDS THEIR
NEXT SEASON, AND THE NEXT
SEASON THEY PUT ON A SEASON
OF FOUR CANADIAN PLAYS.

A clip shows a show schedule with the title "Blyth Summer Festival."
Then, signs and pictures show the Blyth Summer Festival along the years.

Joan says OF THE FIVE PLAYS
SCHEDULED FOR THIS SEASON,
WE CHOSE FIRE ON ICE FOR THIS
PROFILE OF THE BLYTH FESTIVAL.
IN MAY, KEITH RALSTON'S
ORIGINAL SCRIPT IS BEING
WORKSHOPPED DURING ONSTAGE 81
AT TORONTO'S HARBOURFRONT.
THIS WAS A SECOND STAGE OF
THE CREATIVE PROCESS, THE
THIRD AND FINAL TO COME
DURING REHEARSALS IN BLYTH.

A clip shows several men sitting in a room, talking.

A man says HE'S HIS OWN WORST
CRITIC FOR SHOW.

Another man says WHAT IF IT WAS
SEVEN, TWO AND ONE?
NO GOALS AND
NO ASSISTS.
THAT SHOULD TELL
YOU SOMETHING.
HE WOULD BE VERY AWARE OF THE
FACT... IN A SEVEN TWO GAME
NOTHING HAPPENED.
I THINK HE'D BE
VERY UPSET BY IT.
OR HE CERTAINLY COULDN'T BE
UP, WHETHER THEY WON OR NOT.
SO WHAT DOES THAT TELL
YOU ABOUT THE GUY?
I MEAN WHAT... WHAT.

The first man says OKAY, NOW THIS
IS INTERESTING.
IF HE, IF HOWIE HAS THIS
THING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, WHEN
HE MAKES MISTAKES, OR WHEN
THEY LOSE, HE TAKES ALL
THE RESPONSIBILITY.
BECAUSE IN ONE SENSE,
HE KNOWS HE'S THE BEST.
HE STILL HAS THAT
TOTAL CONFIDENCE.
AND THAT WHAT YOU'VE COME TO
TALK TO HIM ABOUT IS TOTALLY
DIFFERENT FROM WHAT
HE'S GOING ON ABOUT.
YOU KNOW, LIKE I'M SORRY,
YOU KNOW, HART, I'M SORRY,
GEEZ, I SHOULDN'T HAVE MADE
THAT MISTAKE THERE, YOU
KNOW, THIS HAPPENED
AND THAT HAPPENED.
AND YOU'RE SAYING, LIKE
IT'S ALL RIGHT HOWIE,
THAT'S ALL RIGHT.
THAT'S NOT REALLY WHAT I
WANT TO, YOU KNOW, IT'S LIKE
AN ACTOR'S SAYING, AH, I'M
SORRY, I FORGOT THE LINE,
I'M SORRY.
YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW
I FORGOT THE LINE.
AND WHAT THE DIRECTOR'S
TRYING TO SAY IS DON'T
WORRY, YOU DON'T
HAVE A CHARACTER.
I'M NOT CONCERNED ABOUT
YOU FORGETTING THE LINE.
YOU'RE NOT THAT CONCERNED
ABOUT HIM MISSING A PASS
OR SOMETHING.
WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO SAY,
I GOT SOMETHING MUCH MORE
BASIC TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT.
AND THIS DOESN'T, YOU KNOW,
AND THAT, WHEN YOU GET THAT
CRITICISM, MAYBE HE DOESN'T
ACCEPT THAT AT ALL.
RATHER THAN GOING, OH,
MEA CULPA, YOU'RE RIGHT.
FOR THIS ONE, HE
GOES, HEY, NO WAY.
YOU KNOW.
THAT'S MY STYLE OF PLAY,
THAT'S THE WAY I PLAY.

The second man says YOU CAN'T DO, YOU'RE NOT
FAST ENOUGH, YOU CAN'T DO
THAT ANY MORE.
YOU CANNOT TAKE IT FROM ONE
END, YOU CAN'T DO IT ANY MORE.

The first man says WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
HOW ELSE CAN I?

The second man says YOU PICK UP THE PUCK.
YOU GO HALFWAY
DOWN THE ICE.
A GUY TAKES IT.
YOU DIDN'T GET ACROSS
THEIR BLUE LINE ONCE.

The first man says THAT WAS BECAUSE OF THE WAY
THEIR OPPOSITION KIND OF...
I WASN'T GETTING THE
RIGHT KIND OF SUPPORT.

The second man says PASS, HOWIE.

The first man says PASS TO WHO?
I MEAN PASS TO HIM?

The second man says THEY WERE RIGHT
THERE IN THE OPEN.

The first man says WELL, I'M SKATING DOWN FOR
A GOAL, I CAN'T SEE THAT.
YOU KNOW, YOU TOLD ME I'M
GOING FOR THAT GOAL, RIGHT?
ARE WE OUT THERE TO WIN
OR ARE WE OUT THERE TO...

The second man says OF COURSE WE'RE OUT
THERE TO WIN, HOWIE.
YOU GOT TO CHANGE.
AND IF YOU DON'T CHANGE,
WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE
A MUCH MORE SERIOUS
DISCUSSION.

A clip shows a man in his thirties, with a red full beard, and short brown hair.

He says WORKSHOPPING IS SOMETHING
THAT IS BECOMING A BIGGER
AND BIGGER PART OF THEATRE.
IT'S SO EXPENSIVE TO GO INTO
AN ACTUAL REHEARSAL, AND A
LOT OF THE TIMES, NO MATTER
HOW GOOD THE PLAYWRIGHT IS,
NO MATTER HOW GOOD THE
DIRECTOR HE'S WORKING WITH IS,
YOU JUST DON'T SEE ALL
THE PROBLEMS UNTIL THE
ACTORS START
WORKING ON IT.
SO THIS SORT OF SETS
YOU A LONG PIECE AHEAD
OF THE NORMAL PROCESS.
NORMALLY, YOU'D GO INTO
REHEARSAL, AND YOU'D FIND
OUT IN THE FIRST FEW DAYS
THAT YOU HAD THIS PROBLEM
AND THEN YOU'RE AGAINST A
DEADLINE, AND YOU'VE GOT TO
WHIP SOMETHING OUT, AND
MAYBE IT'S NOT THE BEST
THAT COMES OUT.
WORKING THROUGH A WORKSHOP,
THE WRITER HAS A CHANCE TO
SEE WHAT'S WRONG, TO GO
BACK IT, WORK ON THOSE
CORRECTIONS, AND
WE'VE GOT THREE WEEKS.
SO IT'S THREE WEEKS LONG
THAT WE'RE ABLE TO KEEP ON
WRITING WITHOUT HAVING TO
WORRY ABOUT PRESENTING A
PLAY AT THE END OF THAT.
SO YOU DON'T NEED
REHEARSALS BASICALLY.
YOU'RE NOT WORRYING ABOUT
WORKING INTO THE REHEARSALS
FOR THE ACTORS.
YOU'RE JUST WORRIED ABOUT
IMPROVING THE SCRIPT, AND
THAT GIVES YOU THREE
FULL WEEKS TO DO IT.
AND IT'S QUITE AN ADVANTAGE.

A clip shows several men in a room.

One of them says WELL, I'LL JUST
BE A SEC.

Another man says COUPLE MINUTES.

Another man says ASK HIM WHAT IF HE THOUGHT
OF YOUR MOVE IN THE THIRD
PERIOD WHEN YOU...

The second man says AS YOU'RE LEAVING.
MAYBE LEAVE
AND COME BACK.
YEAH.

The first man says HEY, WHAT'D YOU THINK OF THAT
MOVE I DID IN THE SECOND?

The second man says IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.
IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.

The first man says NO, THE ONE IN
THE SECOND PERIOD.

The second man says OH, THAT ONE.
TERRIFIC, YEAH.

The first man says YEAH, IT WAS THE WAY JOHNNY
JUST CAME UP FROM BEHIND ME.

The second man says YEAH, HE JUST
GAVE IT UP.
A LITTLE DROP PASS,
REMEMBER, GET IT IN THE
CORNERS MORE THOUGH.

The first man says NAH.
I DON'T KNOW.

The second man says COUPLE OF MINUTES.
OKAY.

Janet says THE THING THAT'S INTERESTING
ABOUT ALL THIS IS THE FACT THAT
SOMEHOW THEY HAVE CONNECTED
WITH THE COMMUNITY HERE.
ORDINARY PEOPLE, MANY OF
WHOM ARE NOT A THEATRE-GOING
PEOPLE ORIGINALLY, AND SINCE
THE TIME OF THE FARM SHOW,
REALLY, HAVE DEVELOPED AN
INTEREST IN PLAYS AND IN
THEATRE, WHICH HAS TO DO
WITH THINGS ABOUT THIS AREA.

A man in his forties appears. He is clean-shaven, has short curly black hair, and is wearing a tartan gray shirt.

He says THE THING, TO ME TOO, IT'S
IMPORTANT THAT THE BUILDING
STILL REALLY FUNCTIONS
AS A COMMUNITY CENTRE.
LIKE IF YOU LOOK AT THE
CALENDAR IN THE BASEMENT,
ALMOST EVERY MORNING AND
EVERY AFTER-- NOT EVERY
MORNING, BUT CERTAINLY
AFTERNOON AND EVENING, ALL
YEAR ROUND... LIKE IT STOPS
AT THE SUMMER, IT'S JUST
BLANK THEATRE.
BUT WINTER, LIKE THERE'S
EUCHRE OR POLITICAL MEETINGS.
THE JUNIOR FARMERS HAVE
THEIR CONVENTION OR THE
LEGION COMES, OR THERE'S
SUPPERS GOING ON.
THE LION'S CLUB.
THERE'S A CONSTANT AMOUNT OF
ACTIVITY SIMPLY GOING ON IN
THE HALL AS A
COMMUNITY CENTRE.
AND I THINK THAT'S REALLY
IMPORTANT, BECAUSE IT MEANS
THAT WE'RE SORT OF PRIVILEGED
MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY.

Janet says WE HAD ONE NIGHT... OR A
COUPLE OF NIGHTS LAST WINTER
WHERE WE HAD SOMETHING
BOOKED UPSTAIRS AND
SOMETHING BOOKED DOWNSTAIRS,
AND A COUPLE OF TIMES WHERE
BOTH THINGS WERE
HAPPENING AT ONCE.
WE HAD
MAGGIE AND PIERRE
PLAYING TO A SOLD-OUT HOUSE
UPSTAIRS, AND WE HAD THE
LION'S CLUB ROARING IN THE
BASEMENT TO THE
ENTIRE PRODUCTION.
YOU KNOW, WELL YOU GET A
LITTLE PEOPLE, PERFORMERS
GET A LITTLE MAD, BUT
REALLY, IT'S WONDERFUL TO
SEE THAT A BUILDING CAN BE
THAT ALIVE, AND EVERYBODY
CAN BE HAVING SUCH A GOOD TIME,
AND THAT IT CAN REALLY WORK.
YOU KNOW.
IT REALLY IS EXCITING.

The man says OF COURSE, IT'S KIND OF
EMBARRASSING, WHEN THERE'S
MORE PEOPLE PLAYING LOST
AIR DOWNSTAIRS THAN IT IS
UPSTAIRS WATCHING THE SHOW.
[laughter]

Janet says YEAH, THAT'S
HAPPENED TOO.

The man says I MEAN WE WERE TRYING TO RUN
A PREVIEW, I THINK, OF SAINT
SAM AND THE NUKES, AND THE
LIGHTING BOOTH WAS GOING ON,
YOU KNOW, CUE 23, STANDBY
FOR WHATEVER, AND THIS
FELLOW SORT OF BUSTED INTO
THE LIGHTING BOOTH, SAYS WE'RE SOLD OUT DOWNSTAIRS.
WE GOT TO HAVE MORE CHAIRS.
CAN WE BORROW A FEW CHAIRS
FROM THE LIGHTING BOOTH?
[laughter]

A clip shows a boy with his face painted white, and wearing a white suit, white hay, and plaid green bow tie.

Joan says DOWN THE STREET FROM
THE THEATRE, MARNIE WALSH
CONDUCTS THE
CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP.

He says OUR NEXT TRICK WILL
BE THE MAGIC BLOCKS.

Two blocks float beside him.

The boy says TWIRL BLOCKS.
DANCE, BLOCKS.
OKAY, ALL BLOCKS JUMP
ON TOP OF EACH OTHER.
BLOCKS, GO FIND
YOUR FRIEND.
WHILE THEY'RE FINDING A
FRIEND, I WILL NOW TELL
YOU A JOKE.
WHY DID THE RABBIT
CROSS THE ROAD?
THE CHICKEN WAS
ON VACATION.

Marnie Walsh sits with several children. She is in her thirties, has long curly brown hair, and is wearing a pink shirt, and a blue skirt.

She says THE CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP HAS
BEEN GOING FOR ABOUT THREE
OR FOUR YEARS NOW, AND IT'S
A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THE
THEATRE, BECAUSE IT CONNECTS
THE CHILDREN RIGHT AWAY.
THEY DON'T THINK IT'S SOME
BIG MYSTERY WHEN THEY GO TO
SEE A SHOW.
THEY UNDERSTAND HOW IT
WORKS, AND IT MEANS MORE TO
THEM WHEN THEY SEE IT.

A small ball of yarn floats against a black background.

A boy sings ZIPIDEE DOO DAH,
ZIPIDEE DAY, MY OH MY,
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY

A red cloth appears.

The boy says WELL, IT WAS BEAUTIFUL
UNTIL YOU CAME ALONG.
I'M ASCARED OF GHOSTS.
LUCKY THING I ESCAPED.

Another boy says I'M TIRED, I'M
GOING TO TAKE A NAP.
OH, I GOT AN ITCH.
OH.
OH.

The ball of yarn returns with a pair of scissors.

The first boy says HEY GHOST.
LOOK WHAT I
HAVE HERE.
SCISSORS.
YEAH.
AND YOU KNOW WHAT WILL
HAPPEN IF YOU DON'T
GET OUT OF HERE?

The second boy says I'LL GET CUT UP.

The first boy says RIGHT.
BOO.
LET'S PLAY.

Marnie says WELL, WE BEGAN WITH THE
YOUNGEST CHILDREN, WORKING
WITH PUPPETS IN A LIVE
PUPPET THEATRE, AND THEY
MADE UP THEIR OWN SHOWS.
THEN THEY PROGRESSED TO
BLACK BOX THEATRE, WHERE THEY
WERE TOLD STORIES, AND THEY
MADE THE SHOWS FROM THERE.
AND THEN WE WENT ON TO A
SCRIPTED SHOW, AND IT WAS
ABOUT AN HOUR LONG, AND THEY
PUT THAT TOGETHER IN A WEEK,
AND PUT THAT ON.
AND IT WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL.
MOST OF THE CHILDREN ARE
FROM THE AREA, THOUGH THEY
COME FROM AS FAR AWAY AS
LUCKNOW, WHICH IS ABOUT
20 MILES.
AND WE HOPE EVENTUALLY THAT
IT WILL BECOME ITS OWN TYPE
OF THEATRE WITHIN THE
THEATRE WHERE WE HAVE ENOUGH
GOING FOR US THAT WE CAN GET
OUR BUILDING ESTABLISHED.
WE CAN HAVE A THEATRE
WITHIN THE BUILDING.
AND WE HAVE OUR OWN FINANCES
TO WORK WITH SO THAT WE CAN
REALLY ESTABLISH IT AS
SOMETHING THAT'S KNOWN IN
THE AREA, AND SOMETHING
PEOPLE WILL REALLY COME TO
SEE AS AUDIENCE MEMBERS AND
NOT JUST AS, WELL, MY CHILD
IS IN IT SO I WILL
COME TO SEE IT.
BUT, YES, THERE IS A SHOW
GOING ON AT SECOND STAGE
THIS WEEK, SO WE'LL TAKE THE
WHOLE FAMILY AND WE'LL GO
TO SEE IT.

Janet says ONE OF THE DREAMS OF LINDA
LANCE, WHO IS ON OUR BOARD,
WAS TO START A COMMUNITY
CHOIR WITH A PROFESSIONAL
CONDUCTOR IN BLYTH, AND SHE
WHEELED AND DEALED FOR OVER
A YEAR, AND FINALLY GOT
THIS WONDERFUL CONDUCTOR,
LAURIE ROWBOTHAM, FROM LISTOWEL
TO COME AND AGREE TO WORK FOR
NEXT TO NOTHING TO GET IT
STARTED, AND THEY WERE
HOPING TO HAVE 20 MEMBERS.
AND IN THE FIRST YEAR,
THEY'VE DONE THREE OR FOUR,
I THINK, COMPLETELY
SOLD-OUT CONCERTS.
THEY HAVE OVER 80 REGULAR
MEMBERS, DRIVING FROM...
IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER,
THROUGH SNOWSTORMS, TO GET
TO REHEARSALS, AND I
MEAN IT'S WONDERFUL.
IT'S JUST SO EXCITING.

A clip shows a man in his fifties, with a gray full beard, short gray hair, and wearing a gray wool suit.

He says WHEN WE STARTED THE CHOIR,
ABOUT THE THIRD REHEARSAL,
I HAD BEEN GIVING
INSTRUCTIONS, AND I HAD
TRIED TO INDICATE TO THE
CHOIR THAT I WAS MEETING
SOME FRUSTRATIONS REGARDING
THEIR PERFORMANCE.
SO I WAS VERY SHOCKED WHEN
I ASKED THE QUESTION,
DO YOU REALLY WANT TO
BE A GOOD CHOIR?
AND EVERYBODY LEANED
FORWARD IN THEIR CHAIR
AND THEY SAID YES.
AND THAT WAS A REALLY
EXCITING MOMENT IN THE CHOIR
BECAUSE THAT WAS
THE TURNING POINT.
AND YOU COULD SEE THAT THE
ENTHUSIASM WAS THERE, BUT
EVERYBODY WAS JUST A LITTLE
BIT CONSERVATIVE, AND THEY
WERE FEELING VERY MUCH THAT
THEY HAD BETTER NOT BE
TOO ENTHUSIASTIC IN
THEIR PRESENTATION.
AND SO FROM THAT TIME ON, WE
REALLY RELEASED OURSELVES
AND WE REALLY WENT TO TOWN.

A clip shows a choir singing.

They sing OH TAKE ME BACK TO
THE DAYS OF RAZZMATAZZ

Joan says ALSO THE VISUAL ARTS HAVE
FOUND A PLACE AT THE CENTRE,
WITH WORKSHOPS
AND EXHIBITIONS.
ARTIST RON WALKER.

Ron Walker is in his forties, has a red full beard, receding brown hair, and is wearing a plaid wool suit.

He says I'M STANDING IN THE GALLERY OF
THE BLYTH CENTRE FOR THE ARTS,
A FAIRLY RECENT
INSTALLATION.
AND THE SHOW REPRESENTED
AT THE MOMENT IS A SHOW OF
REGIONAL ART, A SHOWCASE
FOR LOCAL ARTISTS.
THE CROSS-SECTION OF THE
ARTISTS THAT'S INVOLVED IS
FAIRLY RICH.
JOE MANNING, A PRINTMAKER
OF INTERNATIONAL REPUTE,
SHOWS ALL OVER THE WORLD.
MYSELF, I'M A PERMANENT
RESIDENT OF THE AREA,
AND SHOW IN TORONTO,
AS WELL AS BLYTH.
OTHER ARTISTS INCLUDED IN
THIS PARTICULAR SHOW ARE
JACK MCLAREN, THE LAST
LIVING REPRESENTATIVE OF THE
DUMBBELLS AND A LOCAL PAINTER,
AND WILLIAM CREIGHTON,
A NATURALIST WHO IS ALSO
A VERY GOOD WATER COLOURIST.
THE GALLERY INSTALLATION IS
USED IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE.
NOT ONLY FOR REGIONAL
ART SHOWS, BUT ALSO FOR
TRAVELLING SHOWS, FROM SUCH
PLACES AS THE ART GALLERY
OF ONTARIO.
AS THE THEATRICAL
PRESENTATIONS BECOME MORE
AND MORE NATIONALLY
ACCLAIMED, I HOPE, AND
WE HOPE, THAT THE VISUAL
ARTS WILL GROW WITH THEM.

Joan talks with a woman in her fifties with short curly blond hair, and wearing a pale blue blouse.

Joan says LINDA, YOU'RE ON
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
YOU'RE ALSO PART OF THE
COMMITTEE TO RAISE FUNDS.
YOU KNOW, PEOPLE TEND TO
THINK, WELL GOSH, IF THAT
THEATRE OR THAT ART CENTRE
CAN SELL A LOT OF TICKETS,
THAT'S GOING TO
COVER THE COSTS.
THAT'S NOT TRUE?

Linda says NO, THAT'S NOT
TRUE AT ALL.
NOT BY A
LONG SHOT.
THAT'S A VERY COMMON
ASSUMPTION, AND REALLY,
WE LOOK AT IT IN TERMS OF
THIRDS, THAT WE TRY TO RAISE
A THIRD OF, SAY, THE
BUDGET THROUGH PRIVATE AND
INDIVIDUAL CORPORATE
DONATIONS, AND THEN A THIRD
THROUGH BOX OFFICE, AND A
THIRD THROUGH GOVERNMENT GRANTS.
AND THAT'S ROUGHLY A
YARDSTICK TO GO BY.
BUT NO, WE... IF PEOPLE
REALLY PAID THE TRUE PRICE
OF THEIR TICKET, THEY WOULD
BE PAYING TWICE WHAT THEY'RE
PAYING NOW.

Joan says AND THEN YOU
WOULDN'T HAVE FULL HOUSES.

Linda says WE CERTAINLY
WOULDN'T, NO.

Joan says YOU'D NEED THE MONEY
FROM SOME OTHER SOURCE ANYWAY.

Linda says THAT'S RIGHT.
THAT'S RIGHT.

Joan asks WHAT ABOUT
GOVERNMENT FUNDS?
WHERE DO YOU GET THEM?

Linda says THEY COME FROM THE ONTARIO
ARTS COUNCIL AND FROM THE
CANADA COUNCIL.
SO WE GET FUNDS FROM BOTH
THE FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENTS, AND ALSO
INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, WHICH
WE DON'T TEND TO STRESS,
THAT WE GET A LOT OF SUPPORT
MUNICIPALLY AS WELL, FROM
THE VILLAGE ITSELF AND FROM
THE COUNTY, AND FROM THE
SURROUNDING TOWNSHIPS.
THEY'RE REALLY GREAT ABOUT
DONATING TO THE THEATRE.
AND THE RESPONSE LOCALLY,
ESPECIALLY THIS YEAR, HAS
JUST BEEN PHENOMENAL.
I CAN'T BELIEVE
IT, REALLY.
IT'S ABOUT 80 TO 85 PERCENT
OF OUR FUNDRAISING THIS YEAR.
WE MADE OUR FUNDRAISING GOAL
THAT JANET SET OUT FOR US
IN THE BUDGET.
AND ALL OF 85 PERCENT CAME
FROM WITHIN 40 MILES OF BLYTH.

Joan says THAT'S INCREDIBLE.

Linda says IT IS.
AND I MEAN YOU
KNOW THE AREA.
IT'S A RURAL AREA.
WE DON'T HAVE AN INDUSTRIAL
OR CORPORATE BASE AT ALL.
AND THEIR RESPONSE... AND THE
RESPONSE WITHIN THE VILLAGE,
TOO, OF COURSE.
JUST, JUST MARVELLOUS.

Joan asks AS A FUNDRAISER, HOW WOULD
YOU SUM UP YOUR JOB?

Linda says IT'S FUN.
FOR ME,
IT'S FUN.
I'M GOING OUT AND I'M
SELLING A PRODUCT THAT I AM,
YOU KNOW, ABSOLUTELY
DEVOTED TO.
AND IT'S A REAL HIGH FOR
ME TO PERSUADE PEOPLE
TO SUPPORT THE THEATRE.
AND IT GETS EASIER ALL THE
TIME, BECAUSE THE THEATRE IS
GROWING AND EVERYTHING AT
THE BLYTH CENTRE FOR THE ARTS.
ALL THE WINTER PROGRAM AND
EVERYTHING ALL HELPS TO SELL IT.
AND IT'S EXCITING.
IT REALLY IS.

Joan walks through a park with Keith. He is in his forties, has a brown full beard, and receding brown hair.

Joan says KEITH, IT'S BEEN TWO MONTHS
SINCE WE LAST SAW YOU IN
TORONTO AT THE WORKSHOP
WHERE
FIRE AND ICE
WAS BEING
WORKSHOPPED FOR
THE FESTIVAL.
WHAT'S HAPPENED
TO IT SINCE THEN?

Keith says WHEN WE CAME BACK FROM
TORONTO, WE DECIDED THAT THE
SHOW NEEDED MORE WORK
THAN A WRITER COULD REALLY
ACCOMPLISH IN A
SHORT LENGTH OF TIME.
SO IT BECAME A COLLECTIVE
WITH THE DIRECTOR AND THE
ACTORS REWRITING A LOT OF
THE MATERIAL IN THE SHOW.

Joan says WITH THE BLYTH SPRING
FESTIVAL, OR THE BLYTH
FESTIVAL, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT
YOU'RE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR
PLAYS THAT HAVE SOME SPECIAL
SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE AREA.

They stop in front of a sign that reads "Howie Morenz Memorial Gardens."

Joan says HOWIE MORENZ SEEMS TO
HAVE BEEN A NATURAL.
HAD YOU BEEN THINKING
ABOUT THAT FOR A LONG TIME?

Keith says ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO, I
THOUGHT WE WERE LOOKING FOR
SOMETHING THAT HAD NATIONAL
OVERTONES AS WELL AS LOCAL
OVERTONES, AND THAT SEEMED
TO BE A NATURAL TOPIC,
BECAUSE HE WAS FROM THE
AREA, BUT STILL HAD THIS
NATIONAL APPEAL,
PARTICULARLY, THE
FRENCH-ENGLISH
APPEAL AND SO ON.

A clip shows three boy in their teens holding hockey sticks, and jumping over each other.

A boy says AND ONCE HE
JUMPS, WE SKATE.
AGAIN?

A man says WELL, YEAH.
FOR NOW.
ON THE DAY, YOU'RE GOING TO
BE SKATING ALL THE TIME.
YEAH.
SO ONCE HE'S JUMPED
YOU, YOU'RE NO LONGER
A PROBLEM THERE.

The boy asks WHY AM I
STOPPING HIM?

The man says JUST FOR REHEARSAL.

The boy says OH.

Another boy says YOU'RE GOING TO BREAK HIS
NECK IF YOU'RE MOVING.
WHEN YOUR BACK'S
LIKE THIS...
BECAUSE YOUR BODY
DOESN'T MOVE THAT MUCH,
AND THAT'S WHERE HIS
HAND IS, RIGHT THERE.
YEAH.

Keith says THE BASIC STRUCTURE
HAS BEEN MAINTAINED.
AND JOHN ROBI HAS ADDED, YOU
KNOW, SEVERAL MORE SONGS.
BUT HE WAS IN ON THE
WORKSHOP, TOO, AND THAT'S
WHEN HIS SONGS BEGAN.
GIVEN THE WAY THAT HOCKEY
DOES, YOU KNOW, WE IN
THEATRE, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE
CONSTANTLY SAYING, HOW DO
YOU GET PEOPLE
OUT TO SEE A SHOW?
YET HOCKEY DOES
IT ALL THE TIME.
PEOPLE AREN'T GLUED TO
THEIR TELEVISION SETS.
THERE ARE THINGS THAT HAPPEN
THAT PULL THEM OUT OF THEIR
HOUSES, AND HOCKEY
IS ONE OF THEM.
AND IF WE CAN DO, YOU KNOW,
ON STAGE, IN THEATRICAL
IMAGES AND THEATRICAL
EXUBERANCE WHAT HOCKEY DOES,
YOU KNOW, I CAN'T SEE
THAT IT CAN MISS.
THAT'S WHAT WE'RE STRIVING
FOR IN THIS CASE.
YAY!
HOCKEY IS ONE OF THE FEW
THINGS IN THIS COUNTRY THAT
ALLOWS US TO HAVE HEROES.
YOU KNOW, WE SORT OF DO
SOMETHING IN OTHER AREAS.
HOCKEY AND WAR, I GUESS.
IN ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE, WE
SORT OF POOH-POOH THE HEROES.
BUT ACROSS THE COUNTRY, IT
JUST GRABS THE NATIONAL
CONSCIOUSNESS, YOU KNOW.
AND WHERE DO ALL THE
PLAYERS COME FROM?
MOSTLY SMALL TOWNS RIGHT
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
AND HOPEFULLY THAT
WOULD BE RECOGNIZED.

A clip shows a man in his thirties. He has a blond full beard, short blond hair, and is wearing a striped white and blue shirt.

He says FOR ME, IN TERMS OF THE
MUSIC, I TRY TO MAKE THE
MUSIC NOT JUST FOR HOWIE
MORENZ, BUT MORE FOR ANY KID
WHO'S COME OUT OF A SMALL
TOWN WHO'S BECOME
A STAR IN SOME
WAY OR ANOTHER.
IT'S MORE OF A... THE MUSIC IS
MORE GENERAL, SO IT SPEAKS
TO EVERYONE, NOT JUST
SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS STORY.
ALTHOUGH IT WORKS FOR THIS
STORY, IT SHOULD BE ABLE TO
GENERALIZE IN A WAY, SO...

Two men sing WHEN YOU'RE A
SMALL TOWN HERO
THERE'S ALWAYS
LOTS OF BEER OR
ANY OTHER THING
YOUR HEART COULD WANT
YOU'RE ON TOP
OF THE WORLD
YOU'RE A STAR
TO THE GIRLS
WHEN YOU'RE A
SMALL TOWN CHAMP
YOUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR
MAKES PIES FOR YOU
YOUR BUDDIES KEEP A
BOTTLE OF RYE FOR YOU
THE GIRLS HAVE ALWAYS
GOT AN EYE FOR YOU
WHEN YOU'RE A
SMALL TOWN CHAMP

Another man sings WE WIN A GAME AT HOME,
I LEAVE THE RINK ALONE
A DOZEN GIRLS ARE
WAITING BY THE DOOR
THE CUTEST ONE I SEE
HAS GOT HER EYE ON ME
AND ASKS ME IF I'D
REALLY LIKE TO SCORE
HI, MOM!
NEXT THING THAT I KNOW
WE'RE SOMEPLACE ALL ALONE
SHE'S KISSING ME AS SHE
TURNS OUT THE LAMP
I'M FEELING KIND
OF LUCKY,
THANKING GOD THAT
I PLAY HOCKEY
IT'S GREAT TO BE A
SMALL TOWN CHAMP

They all sing IF YOU'RE A
SMALL TOWN HERO
THERE'S ALWAYS
LOTS OF BEER OR
ANY OTHER THING YOUR
HEART COULD WANT
YOU'RE ON TOP
OF THE WORLD
YOU'RE A STAR
TO THE GIRLS
WHEN YOU'RE A
SMALL TOWN CHAMP
YOUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR
MAKES PIES FOR YOU
YOUR BUDDIES KEEP A
BOTTLE OF RYE FOR YOU
THE GIRLS HAVE ALWAYS
GOT AN EYE FOR YOU
WHEN YOU'RE A SMALL TOWN,
YOU'RE NEVER PUT DOWN
WHEN YOU'RE A
SMALL TOWN CHAMP

A man says I THINK THAT IT'S JUST DOING
WHAT EVERY OTHER COUNTRY HAS
BEEN DOING, WHICH IS TO TAKE
THE INGREDIENTS OF LIFE AS
YOU KNOW IT, AND TRY AND
MAKE IT INTERESTING
ON THE STAGE.

Several clips show people cooking and eating at a kitchen.

Joan says THE WOMEN'S INSTITUTE
OF LONDESBOROUGH PREPARE AND
SERVE A COUNTRY SUPPER
TO A HUNDRED GUESTS.
SEVERAL NEIGHBOURING
VILLAGES PARTICIPATE IN
THIS POPULAR PACKAGE.
SUPPER, THEN THE THEATRE.

A woman says THE FOOD
HERE IS DELICIOUS,
AND THE PIES
ARE GORGEOUS.

A man says I QUITE AGREE.
YOU CAN'T MATCH THIS IN
A RESTAURANT ANYPLACE.

A woman says THE
PACKAGE IS FANTASTIC.
YOU COULDN'T FIND ANYTHING...
WE'RE FROM TORONTO,
YOU COULDN'T FIND ANYTHING
IN TORONTO THAT WOULD EVEN
COME CLOSE TO IT FOR
VALUE, THAT'S FOR SURE.
AND IT'S JUST GREAT TO GO
IN THERE AND SIT DOWN,
HAVE DINNER WITH PEOPLE
THAT YOU DON'T KNOW.
YOU GET TO TALK TO THEM
AND SHARE SOME IDEAS.
IT'S GREAT.
SUPER.
AND I'M SURE THE THEATRE
TONIGHT WILL BE JUST AS GOOD.

A man says IT'S EXCELLENT.
JUST EXCELLENT.

Ewela says OH, I THINK IT'S MUCH
MORE THAN LIVED UP
TO THE EXPECTATIONS.
EVERY YEAR HAS BEEN BETTER
THAN THE YEAR BEFORE, AND WE
NEVER HAVE ANY HESITATION
IN INVITING OUR FRIENDS TO
COME, BECAUSE WE KNOW
THEY'LL BE GOOD PLAYS.

Evelina says TO ME,
THEY'RE TOPS.

Music plays, and the end credits roll.

Producer/Director, Joan Reed-Olsen.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1981, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Spirit of Blyth