58 minutes | Jul 31st 2020

Bonus Summer Episode - The History of Saskatoon's 25th Street Theatre

When Anita Smith pitches you an idea, it's pretty hard to say no!

Anita is the Executive Director of Saskatoon's 25th Street Theatre Company. It is a company rich in history and best known for producing the Saskatoon Fringe Festival every year. This year, due to Covid-19, 25th Street was forced to switch gears and do something different than the Fringe Festival.

Enter the This Is Not That Festival. It's an all encompassing, multi-disciplinary festival running from July 30th to August 8th featuring live theatre, online plays and even...wait for it...a podcast. 

Anita, who I am very lucky to call my friend, asked if I would be interested in producing a podcast episode looking at the history of 25th Street Theatre and where it plans to go. As I said earlier, it's hard saying no to Anita because of her passion and energy. I didn't know anything about 25th Street beyond the fact that it produces the Fringe every summer. What I discovered in making this episode is how important this theatre company has been to not only our city but our province's theatre scene.

In this episode, you'll hear some great stories from award-winning author, Dwayne Brenna, about the early days of 25th Street Theatre. You will meet Maria Campbell, an award-winning Metis playwright who shares some strong opinions on the role theatre should be playing in Saskatoon. You'll visit Cynthia Dyck's home in Saskatoon and discover how watching a 25th Street production in high school set her down the theatre path. And finally, you'll hear from Anita Smith about why she wanted people in our community to learn about 25th Street's compelling and eclectic history. 

This episode would not have been possible without the hard work of 25th Street summer student, Megan McDonald. Megan booked all of the great guests for this episode and answered so many of my emails throughout the past six weeks. Thank you, Megan!

I hope you enjoy this episode. I had never really partnered with an organization in this way to tell a story like this before, but I sure had fun doing it and learned so much about the important role 25th Street has played in bringing compelling and challenging stories to Saskatoon and Saskatchewan stages. 

I also hope you enjoy the This Is Not That Festival. It would have been so easy for Anita and her team to just throw in the towel due to Covid-19, but instead they have gone above and beyond to bring an innovative theatre experience to our community. I think that's something worth celebrating!

Thank you for listening and supporting this independent podcast. Season Three launches in September and it's going to be the best season yet!! 

Stay safe, keep washing your hands, and talk soon. 

Cheers...Eric