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BPAC announces an eclectic mix of program events for inaugural season. Royal Wood and Sarah McLachlan set the pace.

By Pepper Parr

It has been the talk of the town for years.  Some were delighted but many said it was a nice to have but not necessary. The long term thinkers understood and in the coming months we will see the opening of our very own Performing Arts Centre

It has been the talk of the town for years. Some were delighted but many said it was a nice to have but not necessary. The long term thinkers understood and in the coming months we will see the opening of our very own Performing Arts Centre

BURLINGTON, ON June 30, 2011 – It was a good start, she called it a sneak peak – and like all the great teases she showed us just enough skin to keep us around hoping for more. And so – we will stick around. All the notables were on hand for the “sneak peak” that Brenda Heatherington, Executive Director of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, gave a select crowd who were served wine and a bunch of beverages that I’d never even heard of before. The hors’dourves were a delight. Kudos to Jason Stoner and his staff at the Waterfront for showing us what they can do.

But let’s get back to the Main Stage. Heatherington was in place to tell us what all the hard work during the past twelve months has led to – and while it might appear just a little soft at first glance, what Heatherington has done is laid down a solid base on which she is going to build.

There are all kinds of starts. There is the Kick off Event that will feature Royal Woods, winner if the iTunes Awad for 2010 and then the Red Carpet Event, which appears to be for the fur coat set. The program has a distinctly Canadian scent to it with a couple of people from CBC programs and Canada’s own Sarah McLachlan on the Main Stage

McLachlan, a true headliner who will get the place opened with all the glamour and colour it deserves.  Burlington got a taste of what she can do with a microphone during the Sound of Music Festival.  This will be a SOLD OUT performance

McLachlan, a true headliner who will get the place opened with all the glamour and colour it deserves. Burlington got a taste of what she can do with a microphone during the Sound of Music Festival. This will be a SOLD OUT performance

There will be time in the future to broaden the offering. The program for the BPAC is going to be a “soft start” to let the community get used to the place. Show business is all about ticket sales and if you watch what is happening in Hamilton with HECFI you can see a real disaster with the unraveling of that organization. (HECFI is acronym for Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities that operates Hamilton Place, Convention Centre and Copps Coliseum.)

Hetherington is far to savvy to get sucked into that kind of a black hole. She has gone out to the community and developed relationships. Four programs have been put together for elementary school students – if you’re an adult you have to be with a student to get in. Promotional material was sent out to the schools in May and a few days later a call came in from one school asking for 100 tickets.

Not only is this group a collection of good singers but their story is part of our cultural history.  Expect to be moved by the stories these men sing about.

Not only is this group a collection of good singers but their story is part of our cultural history. Expect to be moved by the stories these men sing about.

THAT is what BPAC needs and by quietly developing those soft relationships Heatherington will build up a base that will cushion any disappointment there may be (I want to say “will be” but I also want to be very positive about the BPAC) The Centre has the potential to be a great place in and for the community.

When Heatherington announced there is going to be a Nut Cracker Suite production I almost danced. ” I knew it, I knew it, I KNEW”, I muttered. You see I am expecting Burlington to follow the Toronto tradition that has local luminaries on stage during a production and I’m telling people I expect to see Keith Strong, one of the Board members who drove the effort to get the building up in time and on budget. He deserves his moment of glory in a tutu on stage. I don’t expect him to go up on his toes but I do expect to see him prancing around. It’s the least he can do for the Centre.

We are going to see the Men of the Deeps – no mention of Rita MacNeil being with them though. The official season kick-off on October 1 featuring a performance by ITunes’s Songwriter of the Year, Royal Wood, and “Celebration! A Blue Jeans Gala” with CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi hosting a wide array of musicians who have called Burlington home. And for those of you who are die hard CBC fans Stuart McLean and his Vinyl Café will do a production that will get broadcast to the rest of the country. We’re goin big time people

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Animation is fascination and the sight lines at the BPAC will allow every child in the audience to be delighted and completely engaged by the Cashore Marionettes who are a a world class production – make sure the children in your circle get to attend this performance – it will set their imaginations aflame.  This is an Experience that will Inspire

Animation is fascination and the sight lines at the BPAC will allow every child in the audience to be delighted and completely engaged by the Cashore Marionettes who are a a world class production – make sure the children in your circle get to attend this performance – it will set their imaginations aflame. This is an Experience that will Inspire

“We are dedicated to the theme Experiences that Inspire for our inaugural 2011-2012 season,” said Heatherington. “For the Official Opening, we are thrilled to be able to present Sarah McLachlan, a world-class performer who epitomizes this theme.” McLachlan gave Burlington a dry run with a surprise performance at the Sound of Music Festival – she apparently likes us enough to want to come back.

There will be some Chopin and something from the works Franz Liszt as well, and as the life of the Centre takes on a tone of its own Burlington will craft the audience needed to make BPAC everything it can become.

There was no mention of ticket prices and we didn’t learn how many of the local theater groups will use the Centre. No announcements yet of corporate events but I did hear via the grape vine that at least one wedding reception has been booked for the Family Room.

Royal Wood, winner of the  iTunes 2010 Songwriter of the Year Award will be on stage for the Kick off event October 1st.  Tickets are going to go fast for this one.

Royal Wood, winner of the iTunes 2010 Songwriter of the Year Award will be on stage for the Kick off event October 1st. Tickets are going to go fast for this one.

With award-winning selections from the world of dance, drama and music, the season has something for everyone. The Centre’s two theatres, the 718-seat Main Theatre and the 200-seat Community Studio Theatre, will host Celtic, Blues, Opera, Jazz and choral music, ballet, hip-hop, and modern dance and heart-wrenching dramas. The 2011-2012 season also includes four critically-acclaimed productions of interest to young people and educators alike. And, the Centre will be the first green performance locale in the country.

 

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