RCA Theatre Company
By Nicole Rousseau, Artistic Animateur
As I write this, RCA Theatre Company is days away from opening our first Mainstage Production of the 2018-19 season. Men of Misfortune (by Charles Picco and directed by yours truly) is a play that fits us like a glove – a thriller with tragic perspective, laced with dark comic elements that Newfoundland performers and audiences embrace and enjoy. It features Andy Jones and Greg Malone, whose cultural influence is felt across the country and who are iconic to this place. It is also a premiere, our first of this season, but one of many in the ten years I have worked at RCAT, and one of literally hundreds in the nearly 40-year history of the organization.
It’s a line often used around here in opening night addresses and funding applications: “RCAT has staged more than 150 original productions and contributed to the development of hundreds more.” I type it and I say it all the time, but when you stop and ponder the significance of this statement it has real impact. First and foremost, RCAT exists to create, develop and stage new plays, with a strong focus on narratives from our own unique cultural experience. Our practice reflects our history; collective creation is a bedrock for artists here, a legacy from The Mummers Troupe who founded this organization, along with countless other groups of Newfoundland artists who created, as a group, using the narratives of our lived experience. This way of working seems to suit us, out here in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, where geographic isolation gave rise to our particular artistic practices and point of view.
Risk moves the creative bar higher
Artistic practice in Newfoundland and Labrador has also evolved to include risk as part of the norm. I mean the good kind, the kind that invigorates your work, engages current audience members and attracts new ones. Risk moves the creative bar higher and can create really meaningful dialogue with your community, who inspire the work that we strive to reflect in our season and on our much loved LSPU Hall stage. As RCAT enters its 5th decade of existence, we will continue to support new work from many playwrights, to take (good) risks and work together to tell the stories that come from here. If we don’t, who will?