Celebrating Shakespeare’s 456th with ArtAtHome

A Birthday #ArtAtHome Video

In celebration of Shakespeare’s 456th Birthday, Driftwood launches a series where we nod to the Bard in our daily lives, quarantine-style. 

These are strange and unprecedented times. But in the wake of social distancing and isolation in the era of COVID-19, artists everywhere are still trying to find ways to express themselves while also adapting to the ‘new normal’. For theatre artists in particular this can be challenging, when our art form requires us to be in connection with people and community.

Driftwood’s solution is to pull back the curtain a little, and offer you a glimpse into our engagement with the Bard under quarantine.

Artistic Director Jeremy Smith kicks off our #artathome series with a special message in honour of Shakespeare’s 456th Birthday. You can watch the video here.

#ArtAtHome with Driftwood’s Team

Katrina Darychuk (top), Sarah Caraher (bottom)

Though we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel (we prefer ‘postpone’) its 2020 Bard’s Bus Tour season, we’re still hard at work behind the scenes working with our Beyond The Bard Playwrights Unit and making preparations to get back on the road in 2021.

Helping to get us through these strange times are two pretty fabulous individuals – Producer Katrina Darychuk and Associate Producer Sarah Caraher.

As a student in Centennial College’s Arts Administration program, Sarah has been working under a placement with Driftwood since late February. She was the glue that kept things running behind the scenes at this year’s Trafalgar 24 event, and has been assisting with outreach, communication, marketing and administrative support. Her placement wraps up this week and we are going to miss her enthusiasm, talent and smarts. Sarah tells us: 

“#Artathome has been a journey of finding new ways to connect to the art forms and the artistic community that I love. The past few weeks have become an opportunity for me to reconnect to creating art, something that usually stays on my mental backburner, because so much else has been taken off of my plate. Having more time and space has encouraged me to move outside my comfort zone and jump into projects like songwriting for Convergence’s Theatre’s Converge Against Corona without my usual second guessing or perfectionism. I’ve been consuming more art than ever, and exploring new things, like improving my graphic design skills. And this whole experience will undoubtedly make going back to the theatre when this is over an incredibly special and impactful experience.”

First introduced to Driftwood audiences last year as a director during our 2019 Trafalgar 24 event (Love Multiplies, by Rebecca Ostroff), Katrina is a multi-faceted artist/administrator counting Soulpepper Theatre and Toronto’s Summerworks Festival among her credits. She joined the Driftwood team right at the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic and has quickly become invaluable in Driftwood helping to navigate a path through these strange times. 

“I’m excited to come on board with Driftwood during these strange times and begin to imagine how we might gather again in the future.”

“With most of the day spent on Zoom, I’ve returned to more low-fi art at home: the record player, the stack of books calling to be read, and endless baking projects. As the meaning of time shifts, I find myself returning to works that bend time, stand the test of time, and speak to future possibilities.”

“Experiencing art solely from my desk or living room is allowing me go a bit slower, which I appreciate.  A friend of mine has committed to learning a poem a week.  I am hoping to follow suit with some classical text, finding ways to weave it into my day, be it on a post-it on my desk or reciting it on my little patio during the brief rays of spring sunshine.”

Stay tuned for more stories, videos and posts as part of Driftwood’s ongoing #artathome series.





COVID-19 Update

After much discussion and consideration, Driftwood’s management and board of directors made the heartbreaking decision to cancel our 2020 season, including our summer Bard’s Bus Tour.

The health and safety of our company members, our volunteers and our audiences across Ontario are of paramount importance to us. As we’ve continued to monitor and assess recommendations from health authorities in regards to the Covid 19/Coronavirus pandemic, we believe that this is the right decision.

This challenge will pass, and Driftwood will take the opportunity to plan for a jubilant return of theatre under the stars in 2021.

And we aren’t shuttering completely, our work with four emerging playwrights, Wallis Caldoza, Rebecca Ostroff, Polly Phokeev and Melissa Taylor as part of our Beyond the Bard Playwrights Unit continues thanks to online video conferencing. This year’s unit will wrap up in late May, and we’re already working on ideas for public presentation of these four new short plays.

Please stay tuned – we have more to share with you. Bear with us as we continue to figure this all out.

For the generous support they’ve shown through these extraordinary times, Driftwood Theatre would like to extend a very big thank you to: our company of artists, technicians and summer staff; our small army of volunteers; our presenting partners, sponsors and donors; our government, arts council and foundation partners; our audiences all over the province. Thank you for your enduring support of accessible, professional theatre for everyone in Ontario.

Our collective need for stories and community will be even fiercer, more impassioned, when we emerge from these unprecedented times.

And Driftwood will be there, on the road with the Bard’s Bus Tour when the time comes.