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Compiled by Sean McQuaid

Thoughts on ACT’s 20th anniversary from assorted well-wishers in the PEI theatre community…

Harry Baglole (co-creator of The Old Stock and The Master’s Wife)

On ACT: I don't get out much -- except to the various meetings and events of the organizations with which I'm directly involved....

[ACT has] a most impressive list of productions -- but I recall having only seen one -- Doubt, at the Bonshaw Hall, as part of an audience of about 10.  It was terrific (play better than the movie) – and demonstrated to me that the Hall would make a great theatre space. 

Hurrah for ACT!

Laura K. Bird (Class Act Theatre) 

Favourite ACT production: MacBeth in Robert Cotton Park (2013) 

On ACT: I have always lived in cities with active community theatres and was thrilled to learn of ACT when my family moved to PEI in 2010.  Working on the Community Theatre Festival, attending play readings and attending performances, especially Shakespeare in the Park, and having the chance to offer a workshop for youth were a great way to meet people in our new home.  I got my start in theatre, both as an audience member and a performer, through community theatres. 

ACT's impact on PEI theatre: A community benefits from creative outlets for its citizens. ACT gives opportunities for young people to test the waters of a theatre career.  It offers an intergenerational experience, especially in a show like "Our Town", for folks of all ages to work together towards a common artistic goal.  ACT shows are primarily off-season, giving local audiences a chance to go to the theatre during the long winter season. 

Adam Brazier (Artistic Director, Confederation Centre of the Arts Charlottetown Festival) 

On ACT: We create to satisfy an inner need to express and share of ourselves. Nothing speaks so purely to that as what ACT offers our community. Creating because they love it. Because they have something to share. Because they need to do it.  On behalf of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Congratulations on 20 amazing years. We look forward to sharing in your next 20. 

Rob MacLean (former Artistic Director of Theatre PEI, co-creator of The Master’s Wife)

On ACT: When you look over the list of productions ACT has brought to the stage over the last 20 years, it's a testament to their ambition and their love of the best that theatre has to offer.  What a range!  From classics like "MacBeth" to contemporary work like "Arcadia", from musicals to dramas - a variety of Canadian, English and American plays which have delighted Island audiences.  Congratulations on twenty years - here's hoping the next twenty are just as exciting. 

Catherine O'Brien (Artistic Director, Harbourfront Theatre)

Favourite ACT production: I think my favourite production would be Much Ado About Nothing (2014).  It was my 1st time seeing ACT perform in the park. I was so impressed by the creativity and ingenuity of the Director and cast. It is not an easy task to work outdoors, with all the elements competing with you (mosquitos, rain, wind, street noise, planes, etc).  Besides that, I was also very impressed with the performances.  Some actors were veterans with ACT and some very new to acting. Tackling a Shakespeare play is a challenge for any acting troupe. 

On ACT: ACT provides great opportunities for amateur actors on PEI. Some just love to perform as a hobby, and some young performers may want to eventually turn it into a career. 

ACT also allows people to work in different areas of theatre. In one production they may help build the sets. In another, they may be involved on the production side as directors, stage managers and production assistants. 

The members choose interesting and diverse plays, giving people of all ages and ranges of ability the chance to tread the boards (or the grass, for that matter). They also give us, the audience, an opportunity to see productions that may not be produced on the local professional stages.

Congratulations to ACT, and best wishes for the future.

Campbell Webster (President, Campbell Webster Entertainment) 

On ACT: I remember when my old pal David Sherren and friends first envisioned ACT.   Their vision was to produce great plays, with great Island talent.  Anne & Gilbert's success is in no small part a benefit of that vision.  Many of Anne & Gilbert's performers are ACT veterans, and better artists for it.   So, to be a little personal, thanks David Sherren; you started a good thing, and those of us at Anne & Gilbert are grateful. 

Nancy Beck (creator/star of A Rowboat in the Attic)

On ACT: I have not been involved in ACT myself, but I have attended numerous ACT productions over the years. ACT has brought a wonderfully eclectic mix of scripts to Island stages and has provided many talented Island theatre artists (onstage and off) with opportunities to share their talents with others in the arts community and with the province's theatregoers. Hard to believe it's been twenty years! 

Congratulations, ACT!

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