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Academy Theatre

Strumbellas’s James sees coming to aid of Academy as payback to theatre

in The Arts by

After years of touring the world with an internationally-recognized and highly-respected band, Darryl James decided it was time to come home.

James, bass player for The Strumbellas, and wife Robyn are raising their three children in Lindsay, where he grew up.

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James Barker to headline concert to Benefit Academy Theatre

in The Arts by

The Academy Theatre is in serious trouble, according to a media release, and the theatre is hoping  James Barker and a cadre of special guests might save it.

As with many arts and culture organizations, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the future viability of the city’s performance hub, having left the building dark since mid-March.

With hopes of reopening slowly and with severely limited operational capacity in the spring, more than a year will have passed since closing its doors to the public. As an independent performing arts venue with no government support, the Academy Theatre’s lifeblood is in events, fundraising, and donations supported by the community.

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Academy Theatre names new GM, four new board members

in Community by
New Academy Theatre General Manager, Craig Metcalf.

The Academy Theatre has named a brand new GM for the new year, along with four new board members — including Lindsay + District Chamber of Commerce President, Bob Armstrong.

In a message sent out widely by email, Academy Theatre Foundation Chair, Mike Piggott, says Craig Metcalf will be the new general manager.

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Academy staff quits ‘stressful’ environment; Board pushes back against early meeting

in Community by
Photo: Sienna Frost.

The Academy Theatre’s long-time manager of administrative services, Loretta Kingston, has quit, as has box office support staff member, Penny Hainer, amidst a trying time for the theatre.

Kingston, the long-time administrator, has been under more stress of late after dealing with the loss of former General Manager Helen Nestor, who was turfed by the board in August after only four months at the helm. Many of Nestor’s duties fell to Kingston to try to manage.

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Lessons from history: Academy Theatre needs its drama on stage, not at board table

in Opinion by
Lessons from history: Academy Theatre needs its drama on stage, not at board table

Way back in 1996 I was fortunate to win a first place national newspaper award through the Canadian Community of Newspapers Association (CCNA). The only reason I bring this minor tidbit of nostalgia up is because of what the award was for.

As arts reporter for Lindsay This Week at the time, I wrote a series of articles about Kawartha Summer Theatre’s board woes the year previous, back in the waning days of the Academy’s summer stock theatre.

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Academy Theatre struggles with direction, leadership

in Community by
Academy Theatre struggles with direction, leadership
The Academy has been a cultural fixture in our area since 1893. Photo: Sienna Frost.

Ray Marshall served as general manager of Lindsay’s storied Academy Theatre from 1985 to 2006 — 21 consecutive years of service. After Marshall moved on, there have been at least nine general managers, and currently there is no general manager at all.

This revolving door — and the erosion of good will associated with it — is not only threatening the theatre’s reputation but its continued operation.

The Academy, said to be the most technically perfect theatre in Canada, is the crown cultural jewel of Lindsay. It was once led and nurtured by Dennis Sweeting, the founder of Kawartha Summer Theatre (KST), who was also the first president of the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA). His wife, Maggie Sweeting, was the administrator.

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We should go back to the future and risk being great

in Opinion by
Good urban planning “is a gift of its the future.” Photo: Roderick Benns.

In 1834, a town plan for Lindsay was envisioned on what was then nothing more than a cedar swamp. The planners envisioned something different, and grander than the Purdy Mills hamlet which had been established south of the Scugog River almost 15 years previously.

Kent and Victoria Streets were designed to be one and a half times wider than the standard 66-foot right of way. As the final report on Downtown Heritage Conservation District notes, this was done “presumably to highlight their importance but also to make maneuvering horses and carts that much easier.”

So urban planning for this area of our city has, from its very outset, consisted of a blend of anticipating future transit needs and a vision of something bigger and special.

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Arts Council, Heritage Network host mayoral debate next month

in Around Town/Community/The Arts by

In 2014, a coalition of artists and organizations formed Kawartha ArtsVote to bring awareness to the cultural sector in advance of the 2014 municipal election. In the lead up to the 2018 municipal election this October, they are re-launching ArtsVote, working with Kawartha Lakes Heritage Network, and shining the light on the cultural sector once again.

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The Academy at 125: A personal reflection

in Community/Just in Time by
Drama students from I.E. Weldon Secondary School bring 150 years of Canadian history to life on the Academy stage, May 20th 2017.

The Academy of Music. The Academy Theatre. The Academy Theatre for Performing Arts. The Grand Old Dame. The stately red-brick performance venue anchoring the southeast corner of Kent Street East and Lindsay Street has gone by a few names, both formal and informal, in the 125 years it has been gracing our community.

For most of us, though, it is simply “The Academy.”

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Citizen’s Relief Association raises money for Academy circa 1931

in Just in Time/Uncategorized by

A vintage advertisement about a benefit night for the Citizen’s Relief Association at the Academy Theatre, Dec. 15th 1931.

This benefit night made $205.93, and featured a variety of talent including Mary Crowley’s orchestra, Prof. Rupert Gliddon’s band, Al Perrin’s band, dancers, and comedians.

The Master of Ceremonies was Art Allin, and theatre manager “Hi” Meehan delighted the crowd with his imitation of the famous American “illustrated song” performer, Eddie Cantor.

Established in the autumn of 1931, the Citizens’ Relief Association was a joint venture between the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, and was designed “…to find work, homes, and food for those in want.”

Circumstances had become increasingly dire for many families since the onset of the Depression two years before.

To compound the problem, a steady stream of unemployed men were making their way through town by riding illegally on passing freight trains and lodging overnight in the police lockup.

Often, these “hobos,” or “transients,” would be offered a warm meal by private homeowners in exchange for some work: chopping firewood or cutting weeds, for instance.

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