Performing Arts Centre reveals its 5th season program - looks pretty good.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 18th, 2016


The question was – what will she have to show us when the Performance Arts Centre reveal takes place? Will it compare favourably with the superb program Brian McCurdy delivered before he took leave of running the Centre?

And would there be room for the local talent – and not just shows that were travelling and could spend an evening in Burlington?

And is the lineup for 2026/2017 a good line up?

Haines at reveal 2016

Performing Arts Centre president Suzanne Haines chatting with a patron after the presentation.

Suzanne Haines delivered.

It’s a more than decent line up – and if the VIP members who lined up to buy tickets are any indication – the year will keep city council happy, meaning that BPAC won’t be back asking for more money – they already get close to a million dollars as it is.

A VIP member is a patron who has purchased 4 or more shows in the previous season and the capital donors and supporters.

There are a couple of boffo stand outs to comment on. The Shanghai Acrobats from China are astounding – a cultural circus if you will.

BPAC reveal - Ladies with program

Two Performing Arts Centre patrons flipping through the program book.

The Aga Boom – three clowns that will delight both parents and the children they bring with them. The pricing on this one is great $15 if you bought a series.

Series pricing is $5 off the regular price if you buy tickets to four or more events. If this show doesn’t sell out – turn the Performing Arts centre into a day care centre.

A lot more jazz than one might have expected – most of it top rank

A solid family program for the Christmas season.

Some greats – Les Grand Ballet out of Montreal, the Nylons Farewell tour, Piaff! The Show (expect this to be a stunner)  The popular Gerry Dee and

There wasn’t as much local talent given an chance to grow on the stage.  There are going to be what are commercially called Added Value events – which will be performers in the Family Room entertaining theatre goers before and after different shows.  That’s a start.

Last summer the Performing Arts Centre put on free Jazz on the Plaza concerts that were a huge hit. They have expanded the program to include a Tuesday night live, a Friday Jazz on the Plaza and Sunday Family Fun.

The presentation of the 2016-17program however was weak – it lacked any pizzazz.

BPAC reveal - ticket buyers lined up

Patrons lined up to get their tickets booked.

Performing Arts Centre president Suzanne Haines stood on one side of the stage and Director of Programming Costin Manu stood on the other side and read from telepromters. One would speak and then the other – as they passed the job back and forth.

There was an opportunity for the two of them to ham it up a bit and become part of the entertainment. At one point Costin was dancing away in small circles on his side of the stage – while Suzanne tapped her toes on the other. They could have danced towards each other and made their presentation much livelier.

Costin Manu can be very funny – he should have been given a writer to provide him with a bit of a script. It is after all show business.

BPAC reveal - Ilene chair with patron

Ilene Elkaim, chair of the Theatre Board listens to a patron

The “reveal” as many people chose to call the event closed with a nice touch. Haines announced that Royal Wood would return to the stage on October 1st – the 5th anniversary of the opening of the venue.

The Gazette was there that evening, which was described as a soft opening. The house wasn’t packed but the attendance was more than acceptable.

As Wood was taking his final bow two of what I describe as the “blue rinse” set strode up the aisle muttering about the lousy performance. They proved to be completely wrong – the place works – now to keep the costs in line and the content current, popular and just a little edgy at times.

Tymstra + friend

Deb Tymstra who reports on culture for Cogeco took in the evening and chats up a friend.

The real test is to see the box office numbers – sales Tuesday night won’t be known until next week – they don’t appear to have adding machine over there.

getting new - yellowThe Gazette will comment and report on the evening later in the week. It was a fun night, the finger food offering was plentiful – the wine offerings at the bar could do with some expansion. The program book patrons took away with them is a keeper – everything you want to know about the new season is within a well designed book.

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1 comment to Performing Arts Centre reveals its 5th season program – looks pretty good.

  • James

    I’m sure the 50+ with grandchildren crowd are happy with this line-up. Me, I’ve never heard of 95% of the acts, and have no real interest in any of them. I was excited about the opportunity this venue would bring when it was being built, but it’s simply failed to deliver for the 25 to 40 age group. I’ve not been to a single show. As density increases, and the average age of downtown residents starts to decrease, the Performing Arts Centre is going to have to stop catering to an older crowd, in my humble opinion. I like that we have this venue, I just wish we could get better acts that would appeal to a broader range of age groups. They’ve covered the over 50 and under 10 age groups, but what about the rest of us?