History: Story of Showboat – Part 2

//History: Story of Showboat – Part 2
History: Story of Showboat – Part 2 2015-12-10T13:14:18+00:00

Artistic Directors From 2004 to Present

DAVID SAVOY Artistic Director 2004 – 2008

Savoy was the Artistic Director of the St. Lawrence Stage Company in Brockville, spent three seasons at the Shaw Festival and directed over 20 plays and musicals for The Sunshine Theatre in Orillia where he was Resident Director for over a decade.

Savoy made use of the “moveable and removable” components of the Roselawn Theatre by switching from in-the-round productions to traditional stage and back over the seasons. His gentle, approachable nature made him a popular figure with patrons. Wearing his signature red socks, he greeted the busloads of ladies from Sherkston who regularly came to see him.

In a 2004 interview, he said “Theatre, like most things, is about doing one thing, and doing it well…There’s nothing more joyful for me than making people laugh.” He certainly succeeded! The Leader raved in his first season “3 FOR 3. Three jump-to-our-feet applause hits!”

Savoy also introduced us to his successor, THOM CURRIE, who starred in The Foursome (2004) and The Love List (2008)…

THOM CURRIE Artistic Director 2009 – 2012

Currie had enjoyed a varied career as an actor, playwright and producer on both sides of the Atlantic. After settling in Toronto, he worked in theatre, film and television in both English and French. He was Artistic Director of the Georgian Theatre Festival and founder of an international children’s theatre, ReallyLittleTheatre.

Currie returned Showboat to its roots, ensuring that all productions were created exclusively as theatre-in-the-round. His playbills demonstrated a fine balance between humour, mystery and music.

To mark the 25th anniversary season in 2011, Currie conceived an original 50s-inspired play, Back In 59. He had also written Mama’s Country Record Collection which went on to be a travelling production performed in theatres across the province.

At the end of the 2012 season, the Showboat Board of Directors reached a heart-breaking decision…..we were ceasing operations. The state of the economy, fewer American tourists due to border issues and flagging audience attendance, had resulted in three difficult years and we did not have the resources to go forward.

Derek Ritschel, Artistic Director of Lighthouse Festival Theatre, along with Administrative Director, Helen Wagenaar, met with the former Showboat Board… it was decided that Showboat still had incredible potential. A new partnership and a new vision were born!

DEREK RITSCHEL has been Showboat’s Artistic Director since 2013.

He is an immensely successful actor and director at Lighthouse and has performed there hundreds of times. He has directed 8 productions and written and premiered 2 original plays.

In the first three years of the new partnership, Showboat has flourished. Ritschel’s drive and enthusiasm are both inspiring and infectious. His vision for Showboat is clear…

“It is my one and only goal to see Showboat grow from a four week season to a full 12 week summer season. This will take the audience from 5500 to 12,000 within the next five seasons (2020). It’s a big goal……but if we don’t think big,we will never achieve greatness.

Showboat Theatre and Lighthouse Theatre are now inseparable sister theatres where we strive to present high caliber entertainment; at an affordable price; for an exceptional audience.”

Written by: Carole Black Brisley

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Port Dover