Artistic Director Robert Tsonos has launched a new vision for Watermark Theatre, changing the mandate of the company to reflect the times in which we live. The company, located in North Rustico, has produced classic and modern classic plays since it’s inception 13 years ago. Mr. Tsonos has decided to now include contemporary plays in his programming to better reflect where we are as Canadians in 2021. “We must open up the mandate to include diverse voices”, explains Tsonos, “In light of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, it now feels long overdue. Classic and modern classic plays are almost entirely written by white men, about white people, living in white societies. A narrow viewpoint that is not inclusive and not always reflective of our society in 2021.”
The company will continue to produce, what Tsonos now calls “time-honoured” plays, realizing that there is still an appetite and a need for plays that remain relevant and continue to explore the human condition. “But we must also produce plays written by playwrights that are Indigenous, Black, Persons of Colour (IBPoC), from the LGBTQ2+ community, people with disabilities, and more plays written by women. It’s just time,” says Tsonos.
The theatre has also started to take action to improve their environmental footprint by completing a sustainability project on their building in North Rustico. The company will also look at how they design, build, and dispose of set, prop, and costume pieces making sure they are being as environmentally responsible as possible.
Another change, is that all public bathrooms in the building will now be gender neutral, a further step in becoming as inclusive and welcoming to everyone as possible.
The Chair of Watermark’s Board Rodney Payne adds, “The Board of Directors is thrilled with the change in focus in our mandate and the new initiatives we are undertaking. In a time of renewal, for the theatre and for the community at large, we feel that the theatre is well positioned going forward.”
The theatre will announce their summer season plans in early March and the new mandate will be reflected in their new programming choices. A new vision, a new and improved theatre, and a new openness to diversity and inclusion are certainly something to celebrate in these difficult times.