50th season will be worth celebrating
As Ruth Smillie steered Globe Theatre into its 50th season, she knew the lineup of productions for 2015-16 had to be special.
Smillie’s standard practice for setting up a season is to focus on a diverse menu that includes something for everyone, but the challenge of compiling an exceptional lineup worthy of an anniversary celebration was more difficult than she thought it would be.
“Yes, I think so. I got to a point where I was overthinking it,” Smillie said with a laugh. “It’s always a journey to figure out what the balance proper is and I know that every show won’t appeal to everyone. What we try and guarantee is that the production itself will be of very high quality, beautifully designed and beautifully performed.
“At the same time, I’m trying to find a season that people will find really appealing.”
Smillie, who joined Globe Theatre as artistic director and CEO in 1998, says the celebration is for both the organization and the citizens of Regina, whose support has made the theatre a mainstay of the artistic fabric of the city.
The support is something that Smillie never takes for granted.
“Hats off to the people in this community that support this organization so wonderfully. We’re the envy of theatres across Canada,” said Smillie. “The level of support, the attendance that we achieve at Globe Theatre, we punch way above our weight across the country. We have an assistant director, Rachel Peake, on The Drowning Girls, and she’s worked at theatres across country and she can’t believe the number of tickets we sell in this city. She’s astonished by it because that’s just not what happens across the country.
“We achieve more than 70 per cent of our annual budget through ticket sales and most theatres are 40 per cent or below. In a city this size, to sell more than 60,000 tickets a year, that’s pretty incredible.”
There’s a simple method for the Globe’s success according to Smillie.
“We’re artistically driven and we’re audience focused. That’s our mantra,” she said.
The lineup for the 2015-16 season, which was released Wednesday morning, is:
■ All Shook Up, Sept. 16 — Oct. 4, 2015;
■ The Snow Queen, Nov. 14 — Dec. 27, 2015;
■ The Hounds of Baskervilles, Jan. 20 — Feb. 7, 2016;
■ The Secret Mask, March 2 — March 20, 2016;
■ Romeo and Juliet, April 13 — May 1, 2016; and,
■ The Ladies Foursome, May 25 — June 12, 2016.
The lineup also includes some familiar names. Max Reimer and Marti Maraden return as directors. Reimer, who directed You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown in November and The Last Resort in 2013, will be at the controls for The Ladies Foursome. Maraden, who directed Much Ado About Nothing in October, Pride and Prejudice in 2013 and The 39 Steps in 2012, will help bring The Secret Mask to life.
Smillie is also getting in on the fun — she wrote The Snow Queen and she will direct The Hound of Baskervilles. Both roles are important to Smillie.
“I love writing. My kids are all grown up — I’ve got grandchildren, so that’s great — but it’s a great way to spend quiet days with writing,” said Smillie.
“I quite enjoy it. And I love directing. I’ve been doing less directing over the last few years, just because there have been so many other issues to cover. The organization has gone through so many changes and the building project has occupied a lot of time.
“I’m directing Mary Poppins this season and I’m really looking forward to it. The Hounds of Baskerville is going to be so much fun. It’s a real spoof — it’s three actors playing all the roles and I love that kind of thing. I love that sense, the sort of the daringness of it, the silliness of it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Season subscriptions for 2015-16 are available at the Globe Theatre box office, by telephone (306-525-6400 or 1-866-954-5623) or online (www.globetheatrelive.com). Single tickets will be available at a later date.