Loss of RuBarb will leave theatrical void
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 email@example.com