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How Tweed & Company Theatre is Turning Flexibility into a Cultural Asset

We all know that the past year has been an exceptionally slow time for Arts & Culture Organizations, with our local theatres being no exception.  The pandemic has destroyed live theatre’s ability to open its doors and welcome in the thousands of loyal patrons who would enjoy a production throughout a regularly busy season.  There is no new information there.  

Tweed & Company Theatre was early to pivot in 2020 and cancel or postpone all of their planned in-person productions, moving some events online, and creating some new audio and online content.  But as the pandemic has dragged on, and with the turn of a new calendar year, it left them thinking, what else could be possible inside of these parameters? Artists and arts organizations are known for creating new ideas and experiences around restrictions, why has Covid changed that?  

Tweed & Company decided that it shouldn’t and that it was high time they came up with some ideas that would work around the pandemic, and in fact, excel because of it.  It left them wondering what may be possible inside of shutdown?  What could theatre be when it’s not in a theatre anymore?  What do people need from the arts and culture sector in this difficult time?  

After multiple meetings and hundreds of ideas thrown around, the team at Tweed & Co devised a flexible season to answer those questions and fulfil their audience’s needs.   And the first priority of that season is right in the title …FLEXIBILITY.  It has become increasingly apparent that if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that we know nothing for sure.  The restrictions, information, variants, recommendations and people’s comfort levels change on a daily basis, and any theatre activities need to reflect that.  So this year, Tweed & Company will be programming 8 performances, but with no set dates, time, or locations…at least for the time being.  These are productions that would thrive in a variety of settings, be it online, in a field, or in a theatre. As each individual production approaches, decisions will be made on a location, or whether this show should take place online, a date range that would work, and times for performances.  

The next layer of flexibility is ticket pricing.  It is another major factor of this pandemic that money is unstable right now.  Maybe you are doing quite well and are relatively unaffected financially by the pandemic, or maybe you’re a bit cash-strapped.  Well, guess what?  Either one is more than fine.  For the first time this year, Tweed & Company will be offering every single one of their shows with a flexible pricing model.  The belief here is that everyone should be able to afford the arts and culture experience, especially this year when more people need the escape than ever.  Pay $5, or pay $50, it’s up to you!

And what is this season?  What will this year bring other than flexibility?  The high quality, entertaining and enlightening productions that you’ve come to love of course!  This year showcases new versions of some of the postponed productions from 2020, new takes on favourite events, and new adventures built around restrictions that will take the company to the next level.  

This spring, Tweed & Co will welcome celebrated Canadian songstress Kelly Holiff to Tweed to create her new one-woman show, HOT MESS.  This production was planned for a live audience in 2020 but had to be postponed.  With the way things are currently looking, Tweed & Company has struck a deal with a local video production company to turn this show into a multi-camera streaming special.  A home-grown production with international calibre talent, that will be broadcast in high res to theatre patrons across the country.

Then this fall, a partnership with O’Hara Mills homestead will have you and your bubble roaming the grounds of O’Hara Mills, visiting different campfires, each with an actor and a story to tell.  TALES FROM THE LIGHTED PATH: THE BLACK RIVER is a socially distanced, guided, immersive production that will get you up close and personal (but still pretty far apart) with world class acting talent in an enthralling story that will captive and leave you wanting more!  Written by local writer and actor Andre Morin (Stratford Festival, Theatre By The Bay, Hastings! The Musical), The Black River will be a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience with limited availability, so book well in advance.  

Come the Festive Season, Tweed and Company’s annual Holiday Favourite will return with a twist, A TWEED & COMPANY HOLIYAY!  Join your favourite Tweed & Co performers for live music, comedy, dance and an all-around showcase of talent and merriment as we celebrate all of the end-of-year holidays in one glorious evening.  

Sprinkled throughout this flexible season will be another crowd favourite in a slightly new form, THE DARK NIGHT CABARET CONCERT SERIES.  Pre-Pandemic, each year Tweed & Company hosted a very successful Harvest Dinner and Dark Night Cabaret where the audience could experience the hidden talents of their favourite company members, and witness the best of the best of Canadian talent and creativity.  With the current restrictions, Tweed & Company is taking the opportunity to expose their audience to even more incredible artists and bring their favourites back home, whether it’s online, outdoors, or beyond.  There will be four concerts total, each one featuring several Tweed & Co artists, as well as one blockbuster headliner.  You won’t want to miss these very special evenings.  

All of the productions will also be co-hosted with a local restaurant or food producer to add a take home meal option to your ticket.  This local theatre powerhouse is known for its collaboration and community spirit and this year will be no exception.  They will be doing everything in their power to involve the entire community in this flexible season of compassion, celebration and uplifting performances.  

I think more than anything these days we all need a reason to celebrate, and a lift to our souls and our spirits, and Tweed & Company intends to see to it that everyone in our community has a light and a song to look forward to.  Live theatre is one of the most resilient and forward-thinking industries in the world, and Tweed & Co intends to live up to that reputation with their flexible 2021.  We’ll see you at the show.  



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