I had been in the Roxy Theater only twice, and the second time was very brief. The first time was for a Christmas Art/Craft Market put on by 124th Street Market a few years back. My small booth was set up on the stage. The second time was to drop off something for the Timeraiser event last fall. That's it. Like many places in the city where you live, you take some places for granted, because they've been there so long, and are going strong. You'll make it to some event or show there eventually.
Or maybe not.
Theater is actually how I got my start in painting. I majored in scenic painting and design and Red Deer College in the Theater Tech program. Before that, I was an active member of Treehouse Youth Theater in Red Deer, where I grew up. I did mostly performance stuff as a kid and in my teens. I started dabbling with lighting and sound, props, and set painting while in high school. It was fun. Lots of long hours, but so many good memories. I got a scholarship in grade 10 to go attend Artstrek when it was held on the campus at Lakeland College in Vermillion. We worked on John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath' that summer. I blame Theater for many things in my life now. My ability to break into song at a moments notice, my love of musicals, my ability to put on a convincing British accent, my love of singing in the studio while I paint and in the shower (both to the amusement of the BD), my sweet dance moves and jazz hands, and mostly; my appreciation for those who make being involved in theater a life-long pursuit, whether they are employed in it full-time or merely happy community participants. So much time and energy goes into selecting plays, auditioning, casting, blocking, rehearsing, designing, researching, building, painting, organizing, promoting and performing. These spaces are sacred. They are places where we come to learn and be entertained, and when our community loses one, we all miss out on such wondrous future experiences.
I haven't participated in any kind of theater (performance or technical) in quite a few years. I still toy with the idea that one day I might get brave and audition, or offer to lend my services in the creation of a set. I was sad to hear about the burning of the Roxy Theater, because it felt like one of those possible future chances was no longer available. But oh, how the creative thrive! So I have offered what gift I have at hand to hopefully help inspire and contribute to a new home for the Roxy and all the other things it housed.
Lucky for me, the fine folks at Theater Network were so impressed with my donation for their fundraiser at the Artery a few weeks ago, that they commissioned me to paint 2 pieces for their upcoming annual fundraiser:
These pieces will be available for auction at this event, so there is a chance for you to take a little piece of Edmonton history and some original local artwork home with you. Details for how to purchase tickets to the event are posted on the Theater Network website.
Every little bit helps, right? You bet.