Director’s Notes: Do “The Arts” Have A Public Relations Problem?

Director's Notes: Do “The Arts” Have A Public Relations Problem?I suspect that the simple act of calling them “the arts” may be the first error. It brings to mind (correctly or not) something unfamiliar; something, dare I say, a little snobby; a little too high-brow for comfort.
 When you Google “the arts” you get: works produced by human creative skill and imagination, a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice. Wikipedia says: The arts refers to the theory and physical expression of creativity found in human societies and cultures.  So, it’s creativity and expression. That’s not the least high-brow or snobby. So why the stigma for some of us? By “some of us”, I mean me.
 Before I starting working at Imperial Theatre I thought that the Theatre was a little stuffy. To me, Imperial was an evening at the Symphony with my Mom. It was tiny glasses of wine at intermission and awkward conversation with my old French teacher that we ran into in the lobby. It was, most definitely, not cool and…yes, a little stuffy.
 Just so we’re clear, I am no longer the young woman that I was but I still do not like stuffy. And while I now love Symphony New Brunswick I have learned by working here that Imperial is so much more! The traditions that Imperial represents to so many are beautiful, as well as important, but they are not the whole picture.
 The whole picture is one that is diverse and open. It is a theatre and a building that represents more than just a gorgeous history, but an exciting future. A place that welcomes everyone. A place that wants to be a part of the lives of every citizen in our city and surrounding areas. A place that supports “the arts” of all types and does its best to find shows that will appeal to more of you every season.
 If I sound painfully hopeful, it is because I am and so are all of us at Imperial. We work in the arts but we are as diverse as those very arts. We represent it all here: the classic musical theatre lover; the proponent of opera and the classics; the rocker; the comedy fanatic; the indie nerd(s); the folkie, the theatre purist and everything in between. The common thread that runs between us is the desire to give you best shows possible and to bring you back for more. We may just be a bunch of arts nerds but we really do care about this city and this old building, and we want you to care too.

So, let’s all try to adjust our view of “the arts”. Or…just call them whatever you want. But most importantly, come to the theatre. And not just Imperial; go to the BMO Theatre for the Saint John Theatre Company, KV Players or your local high school production. Just get out there and support “the arts” and let’s shake off this stuffy reputation and just enjoy ourselves.