EDITOR’S NOTE: This article, submitted by Susan Amos, is part of a monthly series, “Cheers for Volunteers”, which highlights local volunteers and their organizations.
In our series, Cheers for Volunteers, we cheer Stephen Puddle for his work with the Performers’ Theatre Company, a community theatre that presents a variety of plays twice a year, in July and November.
The company started with a focus on modern classics such as Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Noel Coward’s Hay Fever and Joseph Kesselring’s Arsenic and Old Lace. Now, they have broadened their scope to include more recently written plays from international and Canadian playwrights.
Stephen founded the Performers’ Theatre Company in 2007 and is the artistic director as well as the chair of the company’s board.
As artistic director, he chooses the plays which the company performs and oversees all the artistic activities of the company, which include the venue for the performances, audition notices, rehearsal schedules, working with the production team and directing the plays.
Stephen hails originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, where, at a young age, he began to act in church concerts and amateur theatre company plays which he loved. He continued his involvement with theatre, running a theatre company in New Zealand and initiating some theatre productions in Toronto after moving to Canada in 1999. And, then, we were lucky enough to have Stephen make Sackville his home and establish a community theatre company here.
What makes the Performers’ Theatre Company special?
In addition to offering a different style of play from other theatre groups in Sackville, Stephen says, he Performers’ Theatre Company offers community members the opportunity to get involved in artistic work in a variety of ways, be it acting, stage managing, costuming, lighting or marketing.”
And, the company is not only about its productions.
“It also aims to provide a welcoming environment and a sense of community to those who volunteer with the company,” he adds.
Running the Performers’ Theatre Company is close to a full-time job. Why does Stephen volunteer his time to do this?
He has a desire to serve his community and the Performers’ Theatre Company is a way for him to do that. Stephen believes the company contributes to the community in terms of the plays it performs and it also enriches the lives of those who volunteer with the company.
When asked what one idea he thinks would benefit our community, Stephen replies without hesitation, “A multi-purpose arts/cultural centre.”
One of the issues with which the Performers’ Theatre Company struggles is the lack of a permanent venue. A community cultural centre would solve that problem. It would also provide rehearsal rooms and could be used as a gallery for various kinds of community art exhibitions.
There are other groups who struggle with a space issue. Stephen believes a multi-purpose cultural centre would open up opportunities for many groups in the town and draw other users from the whole Tantramar area.
Can the company use more volunteers? Stephen replies with a resounding yes! The company would like to expand its operation to perform three shows a year; in order to do so, it needs more volunteers. So, if you’re interested in helping out with one of the many jobs involved in theatre production, write to Stephen at email@example.com. Or, go onto our local volunteer web site and register your interest there (https://volunteertantramar.ca/).
The Performers’ Theatre Company will stage its next play in July. Stephen will run an article in the Sackville Tribune-Post in April that will tell us about the play he has selected as well as when the auditions will be held so stay tuned for this information.
Stephen, we are so glad you have made Sackville your home! We thank you for the Performers’ Theatre Company, which enriches our lives in so many different ways.
Check out our community volunteer data base at volunteertantramar.ca. Whether you’re an organization looking for volunteers, someone already involved in volunteering or a new volunteer looking for an opportunity to help out, go into the data base and get yourself registered. If you need assistance in registering, drop by the Sackville Commons at 64 Main St., in the old fire hall, any time, Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.