Challenges, opportunities await new artistic director

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Adam Brazier, Confederation Centre of the Arts’ new artistic director

Adam Brazier taking on new role in fall

Confederation Centre of the Arts has a new artistic director in Adam Brazier. Anne Allan is still handling the duties for the summer as she finishes up her 10-year run, but in the coming weeks Mr. Brazier will be flying solo.

He’s young, can sing and dance himself and is showing signs of bringing along plenty of enthusiasm. Two of his priorities will be attracting more people to Anne of Green Gables-The Musical and building Evangeline, a summer hit from 2013, into a key repertoire piece for future seasons.

Mr. Brazier will be a full-time artistic director, which means he will not only be working on plans for next year’s Charlottetown Festival but also on the centre’s Christmas show, performances at The Mack and the Live at the Centre series throughout the fall, winter and spring.

His aim is to keep things hopping culturally in and around the centre all year long.

It will be interesting to see what Mr. Brazier’s plans are for the beloved musical Anne of Green Gables. Anne has a yin and yang quality to it. It is an incredible asset that has helped sustain Confederation Centre for 50 years now. But, perhaps like a bossy aunt, the show can become too dominating, making it difficult for a second production to grow and flourish.

In all liklihood, most Islanders interested in the theatre have seen Anne at least once. Mr. Brazier admits that’s part of the problem, which is why his focus is to not only attract tourists but to try to get Islanders interested in coming to see Anne again.

Might there be a day when Anne of Green Gables-The Musical stops playing at the centre? You can be sure those discussions have taken place in some quarters, as well they should. And it’s a possibility given the ever-so slow decline in the show’s popularity. But here’s a safe bet. If you get a chance to put a fin down, wager on Anne the musical being around for some time to come.

Although nothing official has been said, the rumour mill points to the musical Evangeline returning in 2015. If that happens, the centre will be offering up a powerful one-two punch in Anne and Evangeline — easily the strongest such lineup in many years. It will take strong marketing and a good tourism season to ensure they both blossom. But having two quality products to offer is a good starting position.

Whether it is next year or future years, Mr. Brazier is bullish on Evangeline. The Confederation Centre holds the staging rights of Evangeline for six more years and it owns the right to translate it into French and mount or tour it.

One great asset Mr. Brazier has in his pocket is a fabulous theatre. The renovations that have taken place, along with more planned in the future, make the Homburg Theatre one of the best in Canada.

 We wish Mr. Brazier well in his plans to attract the hearts and minds, as well as the wallets, of theatregoers. Confederation Centre needs to remain the shining example of arts and culture on P.E.I. It must be aggressive in pursuing new endeavours, remain true to its mandate of representing Canada and, of course, it needs to make money.

Because it is the big fish in our little cultural pond, the centre needs to be careful not to trample everything around it. The centre has helped raise the level of culture and arts in Charlottetown, which, in turn, has allowed other wonderful endeavours to take root. Hopefully, a rising cultural tide will float all the boats.

Organizations: Green Gables-The Musical, The Mack, Confederation Centre Homburg Theatre

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Green Gables, Canada

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