Although 2020 was a grim year for theatre due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two local theatre companies have entered into a new partnership in a shared spirit of optimism and collaboration. With the dawn of 2021 drawing near, Post Productions and Windsor Feminist Theatre have joined forces.
“We at Post Productions have long admired Windsor Feminist Theatre for their creative risk-taking, their interdisciplinary approach to theatre, and their commitment to a respectful and collaborative arts community,” says Post Productions managing director Michael K. Potter. “We share so many values that the Venn diagram of these two companies has a lot of overlap.” This sentiment is echoed by Windsor Feminist Theatre artistic director, Patricia Fell. “We have the same values of mutual respect for all involved in our productions: there are no divas. We also share programming ideals: we produce thought-provoking stories about socio-political issues” she emphasizes, adding that the companies are the only two organizational members of The Lollipop Guild, a group that advocates for better pay and working conditions for artists. Trevor Malcolm, board member of Windsor Feminist Theatre concurs, adding, “The profile of the productions of each company reflect a seriousness of approach, a depth of understanding, and a courage of execution. Obviously there’s going to be fellowship in regards to all the minutia of organizing theatre around difficult and uncomfortable subjects”.
Executives with both companies are excited about the potential of the new partnership. According to Windsor Feminist Theatre board member Kianna Porter, “This relationship is a great start to building a better arts community – one where artists can brainstorm and come up with innovative ways to keep theatre alive in these times. Two companies who believe in producing thought-provoking, unique pieces, and paying artists for their work. This shows community and hopefully inspires some change and real action towards a better future for artists”. Post Productions outreach director Nikolas Prsa couldn’t agree more, adding, “Both Post Productions and Windsor Feminist Theatre want to engage audiences with stories that are not only entertaining, but leave patrons thinking and discussing what they’ve just seen. We both aim to transport audiences to unique worlds and lives quite unlike their own, and offer perspectives that audiences may not otherwise experience. Plus, we can learn a lot from their forty years of experience, which brings with it a breadth of unique and diverse insights, not to mention experience with a plethora of community partners, including the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre”.
Collette Broeders, Windsor Feminist Theatre Vice-President, sees tremendous potential ahead. “This exciting partnership will encourage new and diverse forms of theatre in the spirit of supporting artists with unique visions,” she explains. “It brings Interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches together, with programming drawn from a broad range of theatrical disciplines, bringing forward and merging works from theatre, literary arts, music, community arts, and dance.” Each company will continue as is, as Prsa notes. “I foresee plenty of holistic exchange between our organizations while each of us stays true to our values and missions” – now bolstered and enhanced by collaboration, mutual support, and shared resources.
Both companies plan to become involved with each other’s programs and venues in the years to come. As Fell puts it, “We both bring a solid production history and fundraising capacity. On a more practical business level, Windsor Feminist Theatre brings registered charitable organization status and partnerships with other important organizations such as Optimist International and Supporting Performing Arts in Rural & Remote Communities. We both operate unique performance venues (Shadowbox Theatre and The Suzanne Turnbull Memorial Amphitheatre on Pelee Island) which we will share with each other. WFT brings extensive grant-writing experience, and Post Productions also brings very effective marketing and advertising capabilities. I see the benefits of this partnership blossoming into shared space, professional programming ideals, and mutual participation in courageous programming, such as the Windsor-Essex Playwrighting Contest and the Greek Revival Theatre Festival. This partnership will also strengthen the reputation of professional theatre in Windsor-Essex County through the expanded provision of quality, relevant, and thought-provoking theatre in accessible venues”.
The first publicly visible result of the partnership will arrive in the spring of 2021, when Windsor Feminist Theatre stages its brand-new play, Dominatrix on Trial, at The Shadowbox Theatre.