CentreStage: My Ten Year Anniversary!

CentreStage: My Ten Year Anniversary!
Mike Butler

2021 marks my ten-year anniversary being involved with CentreStage Theatre. It’s hard to believe how fast these years went by. It’s also hard to believe how much theatre I’ve done with (and outside of) CentreStage Theatre. Seventy-five shows in 11 years (including the pandemic times), is something I am very proud of. So many friendships, working relationships, connections, challenges, and the chance to work the memory, get creative and have an outlet to be a bunch of nutty enduring characters has made my time on stage with CentreStage so enjoyable.

I’ve been an actor, writer, assistant stage manager, producer, and for the last few years, an active board member at the Little Theatre with the Big Heart on River Street in Kentville. CentreStage has been the go-to venue for exceptional community theatre for decades and I want to share with you some of the exciting things happening as we pivot to a “re-opening” and open the doors to our much appreciated, supportive audience again.

Oh the audience! Who doesn’t love the sounds of laughter, gasps, applause, and the opening of loud candy? I sure do! I miss those noises. Soon everyone… soon! Over the years I’ve been fortunate to play many roles from my first (a cat!) to romantic leads, to loud women, WWI vets, and so many more. Some of the highlights for me would be The Odd Couple, Sleuth, Tuesdays with Morrie, Leading Ladies, The Grinch, The 39 Steps, and being part of ANY of the Allen Hume shows I performed there. Add in the fun of doing dinner theatres, kids shows, workshops, and even using the space to host my Eastlink community TV how many years ago, makes my CentreStage memories all very special.

As many of you know, CentreStage Theatre is a non-profit society of volunteers that has been operating and entertaining patrons for over 35 years from the heart of Kentville. We have produced hundreds of comedies, dramas, thrillers, farces, dinner theatres, and children’s shows, as well as educational workshops and youth theatre camps. We are dedicated to our community, and support local writers, businesses, and community fundraisers, and have even been able to provide space for other entertainers to rehearse and perform.
As the pandemic (temporarily) shut down the theatre world, CentreStage pivoted to performing online radio shows, working on hearing, sound, and lighting improvements, and developing a strategic plan for a grand (and safe) reopening when restrictions are lifted. I highly recommend checking out the website and Facebook page for all the latest updates: centrestagetheatre.ca, and sign up for the newsletter so you can be the first to book a seat when the lights go up again!

As of July 22, the latest and greatest old-time radio show Spring Cleaning was released which you can access from the website, and stay tuned for another radio play coming later in the summer or early fall! These radio shows are a safe and fun way to bring you some entertainment and keep our actors in check! Enjoy!

After the run of Don’t Dress for Dinner was closed in March 2020, the board still maintained monthly meetings and committees still ran at CentreStage as we pivoted to the new norm of how to still run a theatre without an audience. kudos to the board of directors and all the helpers, and donors who made sure the theatre was clean, safe, and bills were being paid. The CentreStage Theatre AGM was held recently and some new faces have joined the board of directors. The theatre is not in good hands but GREAT hands as we prepare for what we hope is a glorious return to the stage! CentreStage welcomed dynamic duos Ross Chapman and Brittany Keddy and Bob and Davina Melanson, both couples are no strangers to the stage (both on and off) and in all genres of plays, so their participation has us very excited. Also joining the board this year is someone who has been a huge asset backstage in recent years, Dolores Gaudet. Her energy and ideas will spark some new things at the theatre! Also on board, but never bored, are Junie Hutchinson, Ian Jarvis, Beth Irvine, Lana Churchill, Elva Kelly, and Elva Heyge (chair), Mindy Vinquist-Tymchuk, Suzanne Blatt, and Krysta Hatt. As well as myself, Mike Butler, returning for another stint. For all pics and bios on the full board, visit our CentreStage Theatre Facebook page.

It’s going to be another exciting fall season as we hopefully reach our goal of seeing an enthusiastic audience again. Keep informed and keep being safe and healthy everyone. Thank you for the continued support of this and every local theatre company. And on a personal note, thank you for the past ten years of supporting me and my love of performing. I know I have one or two fans out there, plus my mom (ha!), and I want to say thank you very much! Onto the next… stage!