Loss of RuBarb will leave the­atri­cal void

Moose Jaw Express.com - - Coming Events -

Moose Jaw’s the­atri­cal and cul­tural com­mu­nity was dealt a blow last week with the an­nounce­ment that RuBarb Pro­duc­tions would cease op­er­a­tions. The news came in a let­ter to pa­trons, not­ing that the com­pany was clos­ing be­cause it was no longer fi­nan­cially sus­tain­able to con­tinue.

Thus, the cur­tain dropped on five years of hard work by a group of ded­i­cated vol­un­teers who were con­vinced that Moose Jaw needed, wanted and would sup­port pro­fes­sional the­atre. The pro­duc­tion sched­ule was ex­ten­sive, with pa­trons com­ing from within the com­mu­nity and out­side ar­eas to view mu­si­cal and dra­matic per­for­mances. Pro­fes­sional per­form­ers were hired and they min­gled with and taught lo­cal ac­tors and mu­si­cians in a num­ber of per­for­mance schools.

With­out get­ting into the pol­i­tics of the dis­agree­ments be­tween RuBarb and the board of the Moose Jaw Cul­tural Cen­tre (both sides have sto­ries to tell but few ac­cu­rate de­tails are known), the news of RuBarb’s demise was more than un­for­tu­nate, leav­ing cit­i­zens to won­der “who will fill their shoes?”

The let­ter to pa­trons points out the city has other pro­fes­sional and am­a­teur drama com­pa­nies in Moose Jaw and yes, that is true. But none are able to take over the heavy pro­duc­tion sched­ule and train­ing that RuBarb of­fered. Young­sters with per­for­mance as­pi­ra­tions will now have to rely on high school op­por­tu­ni­ties to pro­pel them to larger stages — that has worked out for many Moose Jaw per­form­ers and hope­fully it will again.

Still, the sum­mer en­ter­tain­ment fac­tor of­fered by RuBarb will be miss­ing un­less the cul­tural cen­tre op­er­a­tors step up and fill the dozens of per­for­mance dates that were booked by RuBarb.

And how will RuBarb’s de­par­ture im­pact the bot­tom line of the cul­tural cen­tre? Will we see an in­crease of cen­tre-pro­duced and sup­ported ac­tiv­i­ties? Will Moose Jaw au­di­ences have to rely more on trav­el­ling acts rent­ing the fa­cil­i­ties?

It would not be sur­pris­ing if high school pro­duc­tions see in­creased num­bers in the seats as lo­cal the­atri­cal sup­port­ers look for ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to be en­ter­tained. Guest Ed­i­tor

Mean­while, we can all look back over five sea­sons and be thank­ful that the RuBarb fam­ily came into our com­mu­nity.

Joyce Wal­ter can be reached at ron­joy@sask­tel.net

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