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Posted: March 24, 2021

Trust funding widens Cranbrook’s door to the world

If you are an educator, performing artist or arts organization, by now you have dabbled or full-on embraced streaming video to reach your students or audience.

A global pandemic has prompted many of us to become more innovative and reliant on digital applications, and the internet in general, to stay connected and do business.

Although Cranbrook Community Theatre Society (CCT) has always been about presenting live in-house theatre, they recognized the advantage of digital equipment and the game changer it could be for their theatre productions as well as other local and non-local user groups of the theatre venue in Cranbrook’s Studio Stage Door heritage building.

The Columbia Basin Trust (Trust) agreed and has awarded CCT with funding through the Non Profit Tech Grant. Funding will enable the purchase of technical equipment and accessories needed to improve sound, lighting design, and to stream their plays to viewers locally and around the world.

Letters of support came from R.E.A.L.M. (Realize Empowerment Access Life to the Maximum), two local musical performing artists; Pretty for the People and Maddisun, and LOCALS, an organization that has presented local performing artists in the Stage Door venue for more than twenty-five years. CCT’s Board of Directors has confirmed that the $3,000 donation received from LOCALS in 2020 will go towards the technical equipment project.

The timing of the approved funds fits perfectly with the recent announcement that the Stage Door Restoration project, funded by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, is going forward this year.

“What amazing synchronicity; to have received funds to purchase the necessary sound and streaming equipment upgrades to complete our soon to be restored theatre and tech booth,” expressed Marnée Bellavance, CCT’s volunteer Technical Director.

Indeed, CCT Society members have much gratitude towards the Trust, since it was its Covid Relief Program that inspired CCT’s first attempt at live streaming a play six months ago when in-house audience numbers were reduced by Provincial Public Health Orders inside the 83-seat theatre.

Almost, Maine by John Cariani, directed by Michelle and Bob McCue, was successfully live streamed to more than 200 in October 2020 thanks to Trust funding and CCT member, Jordan Nering of Artistic Media Productions.

Viewers watched from Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto, as well as Florida and Arizona in the United States, and across the world in Japan and Germany, demonstrating the ability to widen the door to world audiences.

Should the pandemic continue to restrict in-house seating, people will still be able to enjoy and support local arts, in the comfort of their own home regardless of where they live.

Once the pandemic is behind us, the new technology will augment the venue’s audience capacity and potentially grow audiences for all venue users, improving access to Cranbrook arts and culture.

Lead image: Cranbrook Community Theatre’s Volunteer Technical Director Marnée Bellavance stands inside the Stage Door tech booth. Photo submitted


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