To paraphrase E. M. Forster: “The only plays that influence us are those for which we are ready and which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have yet gone ourselves.”
I use this quote as a touchstone and guide when planning the work we do at the Belfry Theatre. It is my hope that all of the plays that we produce open a door to a new world, or a new way of looking at a world we think we know. I also believe that the work we produce can and should be engaging for our audiences.
For the past 35 years, the Belfry Theatre and its audiences have been on a journey through the best of contemporary theatre, with a focus on Canadian work. Since I arrived at the Belfry five years ago, we have further increased the amount of Canadian work on our stages, and solidified our national reputation through tours and collaborations with like-minded theatres across the country.
An important part of our core activities is the development of new work, through commissions, dramaturgy, workshops, readings and first productions.
The Belfry was founded as an ‘alternate theatre’, at a time when the Bastion Theatre existed as Victoria’s ‘regional (or mainstream) theatre’. With the demise of the Bastion, the Belfry maintained its ‘alternate theatre’ mandate, but assumed the leadership role that would normally be played by a regional theatre.
As a result, the Belfry Theatre has a crucial role in the cultural ecology of our region. We recognize our responsibility as an artistic leader within Victoria, nurturing and supporting many of the artists and theatre companies within our community. The Belfry has programmes designed to assist in the development of high school students, independent theatre companies and the theatre artists within our community. We believe in collaborating and sharing our resources with companies from the rest of British Columbia, and support cultural diversity, and the development of aboriginal artists and stories.
While the production of exciting theatre is the heart of who we are and what we do, our creative mentorship programmes and our audience engagement activities help to make the Belfry an important cultural resource within the Capital Regional District.