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LETTER: Lack of community theatre is truly astonishing

The Town of Okotoks has been completely ignoring the needs of the many talented performance artists and groups in our community. 
The Rotary Performing Arts Centre will not have to change its sign after Okotoks town council voted to keep Rotary in the performing art centre’ s name for two years.
The Rotary Performing Arts Centre.

Dear Editor, 

Re: Venue doesn’t match first-rate production, Nov. 8 

I would like to thank Ted Murphy for his column regarding our lack of a bespoke theatre facility. He reiterated what we, in the performing arts, have been saying for years, over and over again, only to fall on deaf ears which prefer to build yet more sports facilities whilst completely ignoring the needs of the many talented performance artists and groups in our community. 

Whilst the uber-expensive new outdoor ice rink is being built behind JP2 Collegiate, we still have nothing resembling a professional theatre despite over 20 years of campaigning and advocating for such a thing. In an ever-growing town of our size, this is truly astonishing. 

I recently had the immense privilege to work on a brand-new musical’s debut. We so desperately wanted to make it happen in Okotoks. All of our rehearsals took place here because we wanted to keep it local. 

But, in the end, we took our show to Seton because they have a real theatre which will accommodate a full cast. You simply can’t fit 30 people onto the RPAC stage. Every single person who attended our multiple sold-out shows took their money to Seton and invested it in Calgary.  

Yes, the performing arts within Okotoks are an economic driver … for Calgary. 

Those dance lessons you’re paying for? The piano lessons? The voice lessons? Where will your child take their talents and feed the economy? Where will they work as a talented adult? You got it — Calgary. 

So many Okotokians are huge supporters of the performing arts and go to see shows on a regular basis … in Calgary. 

It’s time to turn the tide and keep our talent and money local, drawing down financial input from the city rather than the other way round, but we can only do that if we’re provided with the facilities. 

When we have two Shoppers Drug Mart locations, 15 liquor stores, multiple Tim Hortons and McDonald’s, surely it shouldn’t be too much to ask for just one theatre. 

Louise Moan