“Wake Me” It Ain’t Over

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“Wake Me When It’s Over! The ‘12-Step Musical’ 

GRAVENHURST – The Gravenhurst Opera House presents its final theatrical production of the 2016 summer season; the award-winning “Wake Me When It’s Over…the 12-step musical”, an original comedy by Canadian stage and screenwriter Vince Grittani with music by Rosalind Mills. This comedic look at one man’s attempt to cope with change on his sixtieth birthday features Larry Herbert (Stratford’s “42nd Street”, Toronto’s ”Mamma Mia” and “Cats”) and the versatile Debbie Collins (Mirvish Production of “The Producers”), who was last seen in this year’s Opera House production of “The Marvelous Wonderettes!”

This high-energy comedy from the creator of hits “Yuppies! The Musical”, “Quiet! I’m Talking” and “Scenes From My Dock”, has been updated and features, in addition to the original, new scenes and songs like “Divorce of Course” and “I’ve Got An App For That!”

As Roger (played by Herbert) is about to celebrate his 60th birthday, he turns to Dr. Yolanda and her book “Flush, a 12-step program to happiness!” With each step Roger is confronted by a series of hilarious women from his life, past and present, all played (sometimes at the same time) by Collins. From his strap-happy grade school teacher Sister Mary of The Compassionate and Merciful Christ to the slightly wacky Margo, an Evita Peron wannabe, running for president of the condo association, Roger is forced to deal with each of these characters before moving on.

Award winning director Dayna Tekatch, who directed the 2016 season opener, “2 Across” as well as Mirvish Productions’ “Forever Plaid” in Toronto earlier this year, returns to direct and choreograph this production along with musical director Sherisse Stevens. The show opens Tuesday, September 13 and runs until September 30.

Visit www.GravenhurstOperaHouse.com to purchase tickets or call the Box Office: 705-687-5550

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The Evolution of the TWG Guest House in Rosseau with AirBnb!

Doing My Own Thing!

The smell of my  “Vin-a-bon” cinnamon rolls and chelsea buns baking in the oven, combined with fresh espresso coffee brewing on top of the stove, filled the crisp morning air. Nick and Lynn, a young couple from Belgium, were in the front sunroom sluggishly rearranging their backpacks, preparing for their first canoe adventure into Algonquin Park.  Dinner of homemade pasta and mussels, eggplant parmigiana and foccacia from the evening before, still filled their bellies with content. However, it did not stop them from enjoying my morning spread of hot lattes and tastey treats.

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Homemade Chelsea Buns, Bagels & Granola

As I stood back and watched, recalling my own backpacking adventures when I was in my youth, I suddenly realized what I had created with the TWG GUEST HOUSE was a combination of all the things  I loved most when travelling.

  1. A place where the host was the owner. They were local, or at least well informed about the area.
  2. You felt like you were stepping into a person’s home and so you got a glimpse of their personality and home life.
  3. The food was their own. Freshly made and again reflective of their personality.
  4. The atmosphere was casual, where you got to meet the owner’s friends, family & even pets.
  5. The rooms were clean, comfortable and not pretentious.
  6. It wasn’t expensive.
  7. It was a gathering place, where people from many walks of life and from a variety of origins met, ate together, laughed and exchanged stories.
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Iago & Willow

This is exactly what the TWG Guest House has become, a gathering place that is affordable, comfortable and personable, with good food to boot!

For years I have been hosting friends, visitors and many actors from my theatre company, all without charging them, because, well, I love doing it. But last fall when the actors returned to the city and suddenly I had an empty house, my cousin Lisa suggested that I list on AirBnB. Quite frankly I wasn’t even familiar with what is now the largest hotel in the world, a combination of all sorts of accommodations from urban condos to luxury recreational homes to campers vans parked on the street of  Brooklyn, New York.

So, after photographing my home, I joined Airbnb and within days I started getting bookings. At first I simply rented rooms and people would use my kitchen to prepare meals or go out for dinner and breakfast. To be honest I wasn’t really comfortable with this arrangement. However, during the fall, when there are fewer dining options in the village, I found myself offering to prepare food. Soon that developed from preparing coffee and toast in the morning to making full-scale dinners.

When I opened in fall ’15, my visitors were primarily Europeans here to see the cavalcade of autumn colours or to experience a final canoe trip to Algonquin Park. During the winter I had only a few visitors but as spring approached I decided to take on this adventure with more of a commitment. In addition to rearranging my rooms, I also added a full continental breakfast that includes homemade bagels, muffins of sorts, chelsea buns, cinnamon buns, granola, smoothies, crepes and a selection of coffees and teas. Of course, dinners too became a favourite and guests started requesting my  Italian specialties.

This year, what I found very popular, were young couples going to weddings at the JW Marriott, just a short ride down the highway and who didn’t want to, nor were able to afford the expense of a room at the resort. Also, I have had several parents staying who were dropping off, visiting or picking up kids at summer camp. Then there were the urbanites looking for a weekend getaway, and others; families, who were looking for an affordable way to experience Muskoka. My reviews, for the most part, have been excellent, except from those who were not comfortable with the cozy atmosphere and having to interact  with other guests. I suspect they have not travelled much.  I’m the first one to admit, the TWG GUEST HOUSE isn’t for everyone, especially the anti-social.

From my perspective the venture has been truly successful and beneficial. It has provided me with security while I write my next project. It’s given me the opportunity to test out new cooking and baking skills. But most of all, in a region of the province where the majority are longtime, permanent residents of several generations, it has assured me that Canada is still a nation that celebrates complex, wonderful and versatile individuals. This year I have welcomed members from every community; visitors from the likes of Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium, China, Italy, Spain, Australia and  several African and South American nations not to mention all parts of Canada and the U.S.

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A marriage proposal  while staying the TWG GUEST HOUSE 

As one guest commented “It’s not the Four Seasons!”, nor have I ever claimed to be anything close to it or any other hotel.  I used to describe the TWG GUEST HOUSE as a “BnB”, which in fact, I am not.  I am my own invention; a hybrid of a traditional North American BnB, an Italian penzione and a hostel found anywhere in the world. It’s a place where strangers gather, become instant best friends then leave feeling they have had the opportunity to experience the local culture, and maybe, a bit of Muskoka magic. It’s a place that has turned out better than I had ever imagined. #keepingMuskokaAffordable

Visit www.TwgGuestHouse.com

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STAY WITH THE PLAYWRIGHT & CHECK OUT THE TWG FALL THEATRE SPECIAL 

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AFFORDABLE SENIOR HOUSING PROPOSED FOR THE VILLAGE OF ROSSEAU.

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      If you think the most common answer to the question “What is your biggest fear about aging?” was death, then you are wrong. One of the biggest fears is living longer than one’s money. And that is exactly what is happening all over the western world. In Canada. In Ontario. Right here in Parry Sound/ Muskoka.
Why is this all happening?   CLICK HERE FOR THE REASON
      Now, a second question. You sell your home to live off the equity. What happens if you are living in one of those privately owned, swanky retirement homes and  your needs increase. Physical and mental.  Suddenly you are paying $8,000 and upwards for rent, food and SPECIAL CARE a month! (This is not an exaggeration! Remember they are PROFIT DRIVEN.) By 80 you find yourself broke. What do you think happens next?  You get kicked out onto the street. They are not a charity. They are profit driven. 
      You are now your family’s problem, if they can afford or want to care for you. Or, you become the government’s problem. Often you would be sent to a long-term care facility even if you are not sick…that is, if there’s space available.
BUT THIS DOOM AND GLOOM SCENARIO DOESN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN!
There is a solution where;
  1. You  can still live in a house and have equity that remains part of your estate and is passed on to whomever you choose.
  2. You are living with people who share common interests.
  3. You won’t be lonely or depressed.
  4. You can still have a garden, have a hobby, entertain friends and family etc.
  5. You can still travel. Go to Florida for the winter if you want.
  6. Have a job if you want or need.
  7. You can still live with your spouse.
  8. You have control of your life and have a say in what happens around you.
  9. Most of all, can cost up to 85% less than living in a corporately owned “old folks home”.
      I am working with Shelley Raymond of Solterra Co-Housing.  As the executive director of the non-profit R’CAP  (Rosseau Culture and Arts Project), we are creating Rosseau Gardens. The plan is to begin with two, separate  residential dwelling units, or as you may know them, single family homes. We already have the land, two 1/2 acre lots in the middle of the Village of Rosseau, directly behind TWG Guest House . Working with architects Brad Culver and Cynthia Henderson, each home will not only include the owner’s needs but also capture the quaint charm of the village.
      At this time we are proposing that one home will have 4 units and the other 6 units. (This may change based on initial response and need.) Each unit will consist of a bedroom (or two bedrooms for couples), a sitting area and a fully equipped and safe bathroom. The units will share a gorgeous up to date kitchen, professionally decorated living room, laundry facilities, hobby/guest room  and screened in porch. (A necessity here in Northern Ontario). Each unit will also have a garage for storage or to park the car.  You control, with your own furniture, how your unit is decorated.
THE BASIC QUESTIONS ANSWERED
  1. Each unit will represent  approximately 25% shared ownership, depending on the square footage.
  2. Each deed of ownership is tenants-in-common which means it can be sold, transferred and become part of a person’s estate, NOT passed on to the other owners as in joint ownership.
  3. When a person (or persons) purchases a unit they agree to the “house rules” which includes everything from pet ownership to who can buy your unit when time comes to sell. Each unit, not person, has a single vote. This is a democratic household after all! 
  4. As we are still in the preliminary stages, each house may or may not be themed. In other words, if interest is there, it can be a house that accepts residents of Rosseau area, or artists,  all females, or ex-circus performers!
  5. Initially we’ll be looking for buyers at a similar stage in their life with similar needs. It may be four healthy, independent individuals. It could also be four individuals and a couple who need some assistance with maintenance, cleaning or meal preparations. Interest from the public will guide the initial setup. 
  6. Here’s a simple example as to why this is cheaper.  We all know that one of our biggest expenses here in Ontario is Hydro! So, you will only pay a fraction of the bill. Same goes for heat. Or, if a gardener or cleaning person is needed, instead of paying $20 dollars upwards an hour, you are paying $5. Snow shovelling? Only a percentage. As the needs and expenses of the household increases, they are shared by the users. If only two people need special care then the costs are 1/2.  But again, it’s a democratic household. You vote on what’s needed. Shopping, cooking, cleaning or personal care.
  7. Who decides who buys into the house? At the beginning, the first person to buy in decides who the second person is. Then they agree upon the third and the three decide on the fourth. Remember, there are house rules that are legally binding. But as a group, you can vote to change the rules. YOU AND YOUR HOUSEMATES ARE ALWAYS IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE, NOT A CORPORATION.  (NOTE: Four friends may want to buy the four units initially. This is the best possible way of knowing who you are living with!) 
  8. There are three possible ways of becoming a tenant. First, if you have the funds, you buy your unit outright.  Second, if you have only a down payment, we may be able to arrange  financing. Third, you rent your unit. Again, the house rules  will say whether rentals are possible and to whom. YOU ARE IN CONTROL of your life.
  9. Yes, a third party, an investor can buy a share, but they too must abide by the house rules. This is an ideal, controlled and inexpensive way for children to purchase a unit and have their parents live in it.
  10. Will value of the unit increase? Yes. Supply and demand will control the future price, but remember the purchaser must always comply with the house rules. Plus, you don’t buy this to make money, it’s to save money and not outlive it!
  11. What is the non-profit R’CAP’s future role? R’CAP’s role is only  the initiator. Our goal is to ensure that the units, when initially sold, are AFFORDABLE. We are applying to Canada Housing and Mortgage for funds to help with the initial setup costs. Governments on all levels are fully aware of  the challenges that an aging population presents. Shelley and Solterra Co-Housing has been working on the format for several years and the government sees this as one solution to the challenge. We also have access to care providers willing to work with our project when and if the need arises.
  12. What is the cost of a unit? The final price is yet to be decided. It will be affordable based on the final design, square footage etc.
  13. When? ASAP! 

What’s next?

Each unit or share will eventually  be offered on MLS.ca if needed. As we are still at the design stage, initially we are looking for interested parties who can share their needs, wants and desires. This is not a commitment to buy. We will ask you to fill out a confidential, online information form. Once our final designs are completed, those who initially show interest will have the first chance to buy. A refundable deposit will be required that is put into a trust account. ALL PURCHASES WILL BE GOVERNED BY THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE BBB, REAL ESTATE COUNCIL OF ONTARIO, and TARION (Ontario New Homes Act). 

If you are interested you can contact me personally at  vince@rosseaucultureandarts.com  or 705-774-4487, or through the  Solterra Co-Housing Contact Form 

Live long and prosper! 

The Weekend Guy’s Guest House…Quaint Sells!

cottage simpleThis past September I finally did what I have been doing for years, but now I am charging. I opened a “pop up” B&B. Actually it’s more of a cross between a tourist house and a small inn. I call it The Weekend Guy’s Guest House, of course.

It wasn’t a big leap for me. I just finished hosting a house full of actors and filmmakers for nearly two months. The difference is I’m charging, and now most people only stay a few days, not weeks.

It’s actually a good way of testing a long time dream to open up a small inn, kinda like Bob Newhart did on TV.  I would get to play host and also have the time in my office to sit and write during the day. It wasn’t hard either as my house is set up for such a venture. I have my space at the rear of the house and my guests stay in one of three rooms up on the second floor and share a bathroom.

Of course the internet has made it easy. I literally set up on AirBnB one day and within 24 hours I had my first booking! Since then I have entertained travellers from Germany, Israel, Netherlands, United States and Canada. There’s a learning curve involved. As AirBnB allows you to list anything from an entire house, to a single room, to a yurt in the backyard, you also have a choice as to what amenities you offer. At first I chose to simply provide a room with clean sheets and towels, plus the use of my kitchen. TwinAlthough I didn’t provide breakfast I did make morning coffee. This bare bones service was really all people wanted at first. However, I quickly learned that, yes there were guest who were simply looking for a place to crash for the night, there were also travellers who saw the opportunity for an inside look in the local culture. Naturally, being part of that culture, I switched to local tour guide and  cook as I would invite those staying for a few nights to dinner without charging. Hmmm.

It’s been truly an experience and an opportunity to meet really nice people from all over the planet. But I will admit, whether it was done consciously or not, I used these first few weeks to ask questions regarding my price and what services I was missing. I quickly learned my price was two low and some people prefered locks on their doors. I also learned that I can’t rely on the local restaurants to always be open for my guests, plus, most listings charge a cleaning service…And boy do I know why!

Now with twenty-six paying guests under my belt since Sept 6, having worked up a routine for laundry and cleaning duty, plus staying on top my dog Iago’s early barking routine, I’m beginning to get the hang of it. I’ve increased my prices, (just a few bucks to make it worth my time and effort), plus, I’ve added a cleaning charge. (You won’t believe how many times I’ve washed the sheets in the last few weeks!) I’m now offering dinner and breakfast packages. But what I am really  looking forward to are my group packages. Inviting  cyclists, snowmobilers, snowshoers or hikers up for a two-day all-inclusive. I’m even looking at hooking up with the local spa and offering “girls weekend getaways”.

Sometimes living in Rosseau gets so boring…but to outsiders we are a quaint little village. Last week two delightful girls who are big fans of “Gilmore Girls” compared Rosseau to Stars Hollow! Not quite. Stars Hollow is a metropolis compared to this place…Still, people are willing to pay for quaint….so, line up! I’m open for business!

For details on The Weekend Guy’s Guest House vist http://weekendguy.com/Weekendguys_Guest_House.html

MUSICAL THEATRE, STAND UP COMEDY & A FILM FESTIVAL… Another exciting summer in Cottage Country

Driving the family "Up North" to the cottage.
Driving the family “Up North” to the cottage.

SCENES FROM MY DOCK” RETURNS…STILL AS FUNNY AND POIGNANT!”

The Rosseau Culture and Arts Project (R’CAP) is presenting  another exciting summer season of entertainment here in Rosseau and now in Parry Sound. We opened “Scenes From My Dock 2.0” in Rosseau and have moved our hit summer show to our new venue in Parry Sound, the Upper Brunswick Playhouse in downtown Parry Sound. NOW PLAYING UNTIL AUG 14. This is an updated version of the original and is as much of a pleaser as all our shows! And what a great cast. It stars Toronto based jazz singer Christine Aziz, Mary Kreder, Brittany Cope and Oscar Moreno. 

THE NEW BRUNSWICK GRILL AND SPORTS BAR
        THE NEW BRUNSWICK GRILL  AND SPORTS BAR
"Guests From Hell!"
                       “Guests From Hell!”
Contractor's Lament....WE CAN ALL RELATE!
Contractor’s Lament….WE CAN ALL RELATE!

We have teamed up with the newly renovated Brunswick Grill and Sports Bar , 72 James St. on the main floor (formerly Don Cherry’s) . It’s worth just going into the place to see the renovations. And the food…simply the best. Great value too. We are offering a dinner/theatre package for $60 all inclusive (tax and gratuity)

AND THIS WEEK ONLY until Aug 1, when you purchase your tickets in advance online we are giving $10 off the theatre ticket. WHAT A DEAL! That’s $50 for dinner and a PROFESSIONAL show ALL IN! Or twenty for Show Only. 

All tickets must be purchased IN ADVANCE online at www.ParrySoundILoveYou.com 

COMEDY IN COTTAGE COUNTRY

Mike Paterson and Tim Rabnett entertain at this year's "Up Against The Wall Comedy Bash" July 31 -Aug 2Part of this year’s “Destination Rosseau/P.S. I Love You”. R’CAP is presenting the return of our “UP AGAINST THE WALL” standup comedy night. This year we are expanding to two night’s in Parry Sound at the Upper Brunswick Playhouse Friday, July 31 and Sunday, Aug 2 plus Saturday, Aug 1 in Rosseauat the Memorial Hall.  Dinner/Theatre Packages are available in both venues at $65 or show only $35.

Featured this summer are two very funny guys Mike Paterson and Tim Rabnett. Both have extensive bios that include appearances at “Just For Laughs”, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and appearances on CBC’s “The Debaters”.  These performances are sure to be a memorable experience. WARNING: Last year we sold out so get your tickets ASAP www.DestinationRosseau.com 

2nd MUSKOKA INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL AUG 27-30

The films have been submitted and once again we have received entries from around the world, from comedies to dramas to animation. We are presently putting together the final programme and it will be available online at www.DestinationRosseau.com 

e MIFF 2015 BANNER

$20 off TICKETS for the new comedy “The AUDIT” at the Village of Rosseau Playhouse

 

 

 

 

Save $20 on a pair of tickets to performances (THIS WEEK ONLY) of “The Audit” a new comedy by Vince Grittani at THE VILLAGE OF ROSSEAU PLAYHOUSE , running July 8 -19.  Good for Tuesday July 8 through July 12 on PHONE ORDERS 705-224-3542 QUOTE “I’m a friend of the playwright” and save $20 off a pair of $60 tickets.  OR PRINT THIS PAGE and bring it to the box office any day between 11 AM to 5 PM.  FOR MORE INFORMATION visit www.destinationrosseau.com 

The Audit CAST with namesAUDIT POSTER

A Quaint Village Comes Alive…Exciting “Destination Rosseau 2014”

It’s been a long time in the making. Since moving from a lakeside cottage to an old farmhouse in the middle of this Front poster LOW RESquaint village, I have had this vision. I could see the Village of Rosseau was ideal for becoming an arts destination. It’s located where “Parry Sound meets Muskoka”.  This picturesque hamlet is a true hub.  Go west you find Parry Sound. East, Bracebridge. North, Huntsville. And south, Port Carling.  It’s two and a half hours north of downtown Toronto, and two hours south of Sudbury.  Within the village there are two fantastic B&B’s and  Crossroads, a very popular casual fine-dining restaurant. Within a twenty minute scenic drive there’s a variety of accommodations. Fifteen minutes south there’s The JW Marriott and Clevelands House. Take a slight detour between here and Bracebridge you’ll find Windermere House. This year we welcome the reopening of The Grand Tappatto Resort. All of these are perfect choices for both overnight stays and offer memorable dining experiences.

So the stage is set and now the Rosseau Culture and Arts Project (RCAP) is ready to deliver with Destination Rosseau 2014, an exciting festival of art, live theatre, music, film and more.

To begin, we are bringing back the award-winning  Muskoka Theatre Project’s with two great productions, here in the very village where it began twelve years ago.   The first is the premiere of a new comedy “The Audit”,  July 8 – 19,  that tells the story of  Ray, a divorced dentist who sells his practice to become a standup comic, only to have Revenue Canada audit him resulting with life altering consequences. Throw in his wise cracking dog Zeus, and it becomes a light comedy about a dark matter.   Then from July 29 – Aug 9, MTP is excited to bring back a new production of our original, award-winning “Quiet! I’m Talking”,  featuring Muskoka’s beloved Bunny Bevington-Smythe, who was featured in the 2013 Muskoka Lakes Associations yearbook. With updated material, played by Patricia Vanstone (Road to Avonlea) , Bunny is hilarious, poignant, witty and a bit naughty all rolled up in one. Soon to be a feature film “The Grass Widow of Muskoka”, don’t miss cocktails with Bunny.

Following our successful science workshops from last summer with Professor Whatz It, this year Destination Rosseau is presenting a whole week-long Science Camp for kids 8-14 from July 14 – 18. Full of hands-on experiments and demonstrations, participants explore the world of astronomy, geology, mechanics, chemistry, archaeology  and tons more.  And for those right-brained kids we are holding two Theatre Arts Camps for ages 9-14. Stage 1 “Be Scene” explores movement through the art of Neutral Mask. This is for kids of all levels, both those extroverts who are always up on stage performing  and those who might need a bit of confidence building. Stage 2 “Be Heard”, explores the voice as your instrument and then using it with movement.  Our instructors are all  professionals with years of experience.

Also for the kid in us all we are throwing a party on Saturday, July 26 called “Kinderfest”. It’s a whole day of workshops, performances, music, human gyroscopes, even 30 foot inflated animals that you can walk right inside. And then there’s the real animals like reptiles and snakes!

On Saturday, Aug 2 during the day it’s “Paint the Town Rosseau – 2″ . Artists are invited to come and capture a day in the life of our village. Then at night, in the playhouse it’s “Comedy Night in Rosseau”.  Direct from the “Just For Laughs Festival” , Derek Seguin headlines with fellow comedians DeAnne Smith and Matt Wright.

In the TWG Gallery, throughout the entire summer Destination Rosseau features “Brave Art”, three show of new art by Grace Short, Carolyn Megill, Stefan Galvanek  and Barb TenEycke .

On Aug 15 – 17 , Destination Rosseau sponsors “Voices in the Village”, three concerts; opera, Broadway and an afternoon of Jazz.

Finally, from August 28 through 30th ,  or our final event of Destination Rosseau 2014 it’s “The Muskoka Independent Film Festival”.  Join us and celebrity host, Canada’s own Dini Petty, for everything films, complete with galas, live interviews and lots of discussions.

We have something happening all summer long here in Rosseau. So buy a ticket, book a room and make you dinner reservations.  And don’t put it off too long.  Our venues are intimate and capacity is limited.  For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.rosseaucultureandarts.com

 

Celebrate Destination Rosseau! Coming Summer 2014! Art, Music, Theatre & Film

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Even though the ice is still out there on the lake and snow surrounds us, it’s time to think summer! As executive director of the non-profit Rosseau Culture and Arts Project,  I am proud to announce the first annual  “Destination Rosseau”, a celebration of music, theatre, film and art.  Years in the making, this brings together The Muskoka Theatre Project, The TWG Gallery, The new Muskoka Film Festival and The Rosseau Academy of Arts and Practical Science all under one umbrella.

Through generous support from the Ontario Government’s Celebrate Ontario 2014 grant programme, sponsorship, the Municipality of Seguin Township, volunteers and others, Rosseau is well on its way to becoming an arts destination.

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Our playhouse…a spiced up Agricultural Hall!

It was here in Rosseau, back in 2002, that the Muskoka Theatre Project began to produce live theatre and musical concerts beginning with its original, award-winning, one-woman show “Quiet! I’m Talking” (soon to become a feature film “The Grass Widow of Muskoka”).  Since then we consistently presented quality professional theatre up until 2010. This year we return with a presentation of “The Audit” a new romantic comedy plus other productions and musical events.

The TWG Gallery, now in its second year, will be presenting several shows of local and regional artists under the banner “Brave New Art” along with our second annual “Paint the Town, Rosseau”.

ImageThe Rosseau Academy of Arts and Practical Science will be holding a series of workshops in arts, science and theatre for  kids and various media for adults throughout the summer.

Finally, over three days in September, “Destination Rosseau” will feature The Muskoka Film Festival, in three venues featuring not only great flicks but in many cases the filmmakers themselves.

Our final schedule of events is being finalized and new things are being added. In the meantime, keep visiting www.rosseaucultureandarts.com for details.

Also, WE ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS with all our activities including the theatre, the workshops and the film festival. If you are interested in helping out please drop us a line and tell us your area of interest and availability. We’ll get back to you ASAP.    info@rosseaucultureandarts.com

Bring on the summer!

Vince Grittani, executive director

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“Hey Gravenhurst, I’m Over Here! ”

IMG_00000103(Today, Feb 7 at 5:00  is the final day they are accepting  submissions so, I thought I would send this out one more time for good luck!) 

Ego v.s. Passion

Recently the Town of Gravenhurst posted an ad for the position of Manager of Arts and Culture. To say that I want the job is an understatement. I am the job. This isn’t an over-inflated ego speaking. It’s passion. In fact, one could say that I have been vying for the position for some time now. And now, admittedly,  I am campaigning for it!

combo theatre

The position, Manager of Arts and Culture for the town, includes overseeing its famous Opera House. This is a facility I have a history with that goes back to its 100th Anniversary in 2001, for which I was commissioned to create my summer musical “Scenes From My Dock!”. It played to packed houses.  Previous to that, the Opera House was home to a variety of professional theatre companies and a presenter of many great concerts and events. However, over the past decade the place has never experienced the buzz that was present since its centennial celebration. Its citizens have continuously expressed to me, and their council, of their concern for the lack of good programming and the financial drain the venue creates on the the town’s coffers.

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This job is the sum total of everything I’ve been doing!

You can click here. I have the qualifications. I’ve managed teams of individuals of all sizes and produced award winning results with budgets from nil to over a million. I’ve raised money through sponsorship, fundraising, government grants, advertising  and audience development. I’ve negotiated contracts and worked with professional union members, amateurs, agents, volunteers, actors, directors, writers, dancers, musicians, designers, artists, publicists, backstage crew, media, etc. , etc..  I know what it’s like to work with local government and have been a familiar face to most of the regional councils over the past twenty years. I’m not just a theatre guy but my experience branches into the visual, television and film arts. I am and have always been a big supporter and promoter of Muskoka with a keen interest in its history. (Even my award-winning screenplay “The Grass Widow of Muskoka”, based on my play “Quiet! I’m Talking”, to be a filmed in Muskoka, brings to life the region’s past and present lore.)

On the business side, I spent years in marketing, including working for various corporate clients and advertising agencies. I understand the importance of sponsorship and appreciate the value that lies in the Muskoka brand. And when it comes to understanding the nuts and bolts of an old building, my personal experience, not only with producing in and running a variety of theatre venues, but in real estate and ownership for the past thirty years, has given me a fairly good working knowledge of the mechanics. I recognize that the Gravenhurst Opera House is a valuable icon and an integral part of not only the town’s, but the whole Muskoka region’s, history. I believe the position of Manager of Arts and Culture goes beyond just the building itself and includes stimulating the cultural fabric of the entire town. It’s a position that must lead a unified effort from amongst the many special interests within the pool of citizens, creating a greater sense of community pride. It’s a position that must always look at the bottom line and strive towards sustainability in a very competitive environment. It’s also a position that must see arts and culture take an active role in reviving the town’s core and stimulate the local economy.

opera house

Culture is more than art!

I also understand the challenges that increased competition (both regionally and nationally), changing demographics, digital age media, and budget restraints present. I am well aware that one must develop creative solutions in order to sustain and support arts and cultural activity. And finally, the fact that the position is not just “arts manager”  means one must have an understanding that cultural activity isn’t just theatre, film and visual art, but includes other interests that make up the Town of Gravenhurst community.

So far my efforts to “campaign” for the position have not gone unnoticed. Many have sent in an email of support to the human resources on my behalf. (Be my guest  HumanResources@gravenhurst.ca). Some have commented that they have never seen such an enthusiastic pitch for a a government job! On the other hand, others have warned me that I may come across as “too aggressive”, turn them off and that I am being “too public”.  Well, the job is, or at least should be, very public. The person must be out there promoting and being involved. This is what a leader does. That is how one remains accountable to the people paying their salary.

My motto!
My motto!

I choose to believe that those making the hiring decision want to see change to the status quo and are interested in a person who can show leadership, creativity and have a genuine interest in the well being of the Town of Gravenhurst. That person is me.

Partnerships. Good for everyone!

As far as my vision for the Village of Rosseau, I see this as a perfect opportunity for a partnership. The challenge with Rosseau is that it is very small and it lacks facilities and a substantial permanent population, however it is located at the opposite end of Muskoka and in the designated region of Northern Ontario. A partnership lends itself to shared activity and access to Northern funding not available the the Town of Gravenhurst.  Although there would be some overlap, there would also be the potential to reach a greater audience with more activity. So therefore, Rosseau could be a satellite to Gravenhurst, and funding agencies love partnerships.

You get one life to live. Go for it!

My application for the position could have been simple and I could have just sent in a resume. But that’s not me. Instead, I have chosen to be very public and demonstrate just a smidgen of the effort I would exert if hired.

Using music I wrote for previous assignments and new graphics I created for original projects I have or am developing, here’s a sample of some of the artistic and cultural activity I would bring to the Opera House and the Town of Gravenhurst. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1eAal8J7j1Y

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