Bay Roberts group ready to bring the drama

·3 min read

The year 2020 was no doubt a dramatic one, but a Bay Roberts theatre troupe is determined to be ready to offer drama of a more welcome fare once theatres re-open.

The Madrock Theatre Troupe, along with the “Boot” Troupe from Marystown, are the latest members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Society (NLDS). Both troupes were welcomed during the fall meeting held virtually on October 24, 2020.

The Madrock troupe, which is the brainchild of Michele Gosse Dove, originally of Bay Roberts, has performed for the last decade or so under the umbrella of the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation.

“She always had a dream of doing theatre here,” said Madrock Theatre Troupe president Lynne Strong. “It all started with wanting to offer something to the community during the summer months, the tourist season.”

The troupe started performing a variety of skits written by Nick Mercer, which grew into the annual "How's About A Time? A Night of Newfoundland Humour" along with other productions such as ‘West Moon’ and ‘As Loved our Fathers.’

The Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation covers the cost of venues, and whatever monies earned goes back to the foundation. It’s an extra upfront cost, in addition to the costs of materials, costumes, and stage production (which are supplied on a volunteer basis in many instances).

Due to the pandemic, the troupe hasn’t been able to do much in the way of fundraising.

“We haven’t had a chance to test our mettle in terms of fundraising,” said Strong. “We need to meet in the upcoming months to get some fundraising moving so we can secure monies to put together whatever we need.”

Due to the pandemic, the troupe has had to hold off on performances for the foreseeable future.

“Obviously, we couldn’t get anything off the ground in 2020, and I’m doubting very much that anything will happen next year. If it does, it will be late next year,” said Strong, adding that the troupe will likely have to wait until theatres are permitted to operate at full capacity before doing another show.

“You can’t put a production off and hope to cover your cost if you can only get half-capacity, or even less than half capacity at the moment. We’re looking at 2022 before we can even look at having full houses again. Because I certainly think there’s going to be a large contingency of people who are going to still be wary of getting into large crowds. It’s once bitten, twice shy. Then there will be a lot of people of course who will be very anxious to get back out into the art world and see concerts and performances of all sorts. Even to get back comfortably into a movie theatre would be a huge thing. So, I’m really hoping that out of this very horrible time, something really good will come out of it.”

In the meantime, Strong said anyone interested in taking part ought to contact the troupe.

“We are not a closed group, and we are always looking for talented people,” said Strong. “And we certainly are a community theatre troupe. We are in no way professionals; we are learning as we go here, basically.”

For now, the troupe has to sit tight, plan, and prepare for the days when theatres are open once again.

“I’m really hoping we can get this off the ground and get a production under our belt after COVID,” said Strong. “I’m hoping we can help everybody over this dark period when we finally do get back to the boards, as they say.”

Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News