Ignition Theatre’s Corpus Christi production from 2012 (contributed photo).

Ignition Theatre is back — with some help from CAT

Three new seasons of cutting-edge shows are planned

Ignition Theatre is returning to Red Deer — with promises of more “thought-provoking, edgy” stage shows through to 2020.

The professional theatre company, in hiatus for most of the past four years, has formed a new partnership with Central Alberta Theatre that allows it to produce nine productions over the next three years.

Each season will have a fall, winter and spring play, said artistic director Matt Grue. Although the first season can’t be announced yet, all the shows will be mounted in CAT’s Nickle Studio.

With a maximum seating capacity of 40 in the small space upstairs at the Memorial Centre, Grue said he doesn’t have to worry as much about filling seats, so feels free to tackle plays that push the envelope. “I don’t have to limit my programming to what appeals to a broad audience…

“We’re excited to focus on theatre again,” said Grue, who has been getting a lot of positive feedback about the group’s return from the community. He will once again be working with his fellow RDC theatre graduate and wife, Stephanie Grue.

The couple, who had staged such productions as Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Bug, have been busy in the interim completing an original apocalyptic film called Break on Through that will be shown starting Oct. 13 at the Welikoklad Event Centre.

Ignition Theatre completed its last full season on stage in 2013, partly because of the expense of mounting shows at Red Deer venues. As a professional company, Grue has to pay his actors and crew members, so high venue costs made putting on theatrical productions unaffordable.

The agreement with CAT gives Ignition Theatre access to Nickle Studio “at an extremely low financial commitment,” which is partly tied to box-office receipts, said Grue. CAT is also supplying front-of-house volunteers and a bartender, and allowing Ignition Theatre to borrow set and costume pieces.

Grue, who’s continuing his long-term partnership with Ridge Enterprises and the Matchbox Theatre foundation, is glad that CAT’s new president, Craig Scott, is similarly committed to growing Red Deer’s theatre scene through collaboration.

“To produce sustainable professional theatre in our community requires a tremendous amount of passion, generosity and foresight…(we are) grateful and excited to be working with Central Alberta Theatre,” added Grue.

Scott believes that working with Ignition Theatre will offer CAT members a chance to “explore greater opportunities to stretch their acting skills, and more importantly, our audiences a chance for a more diverse theatrical experience.” Part of CAT’s mandate is to promote live theatre in Central Alberta.

More information about the new Ignition season and tickets will be available from ignitiontheatre.ca by September.

lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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