How do we get our young (and perhaps not so young) aspiring talent the opportunity to test out their acting and performing skills in a cozy-but-classy setting?
How do we ever get the momentum in this city to be able to justify building a truly great performing arts centre?
How do we become an effective and growing world-class destination?
By getting focused, just like they did many years ago in the hockey world by building Memorial Arena. We start small and make sure all types and levels of artist performance have the opportunity to try out their wares. That is why we need another theatre complex.
If the leadership in Penticton is really serious about becoming world-class it has to move beyond saying that “Penticton’s got game” and thinking that means only hockey. We have to move even beyond lacrosse, soccer and boating. There are many young people who don’t or can’t play any of these activities, but still are very talented.
We’ve lost the PenHi auditorium and we can’t always count on the weather to simply suggest they put on a performance in a park. We need a neat amateur theatre for the budding talent that exists in this place. We could make our local college even more attractive if it had access to facilities where it could experiment not only with productions but also with the technologies needed to make shows successful. And within all this, we would benefit if we could enjoy some popcorn and pop.
Lets get behind the Penmar for the young people in this town. Why are there more young people from Vernon and Kelowna playing in the symphony? Why does Wells B.C. with a population of 250 have such a budding arts presence? Why does PEI produce so many talented musicians and other artists with a capital no bigger than our city and the rest of the island’s population no more than the valley minus Kelowna? It’s because all these people make sure there are venues for the not-yet-famous or really good to get on stage and learn to perform.
I’m surprised that in a city that considers a light canopy over a block of Main Street to be vital doesn’t think a small theatre for its kids and their parents to be essential.
As much as we might like to be a manufacturing hub or a waterslide capital, it will be much more likely we can be central for the arts and a destination for those who travel looking for alternate forms of entertainment including the type the Penmar would provide. Even classic movies draw people —there is small village in the Haliburton region of Ontario that has a wonderful old theatre that draws people from beyond Toronto in the summer. Let’s give ourselves an opportunity to become a destination for as diverse a population as possible.
And there is another side to all this — the more we enable or allow local talent to grow, the more we fill the world with our graduates who tell others to come and see where they got there start. Actors, musicians, film producers remain in their craft long after professional athletes have retired. Maybe there is a Lloyd Robertson or a Loreena McKennett or a Ryan Gosling or a Justin Bieber just waiting to break out and make Penticton as important as Stratford, Ont. is.
Help make this happen, go to www.penmar.ca and find a way to contribute.