A long-running performing arts organization is undergoing another metamorphosis as Maggie O’Scalleigh takes the reins of the Salt Spring Theatre Alive Society.
Chris Humphreys had been artistic director of Theatre Alive since late in 2019, with a Jan. 1, 2020 staged reading of The Importance of Being Earnest the first show under his helm before facing the pandemic shutdown and the slow return to live performances of any kind.
When O’Scalleigh heard that Humphreys was unable to continue leading the organization, she jumped at the chance to become its artistic director.
O’Scalleigh was the producer, administrator and an instructor for StageCoach Theatre School from 2008-2014 and says her life passion has primarily been for musical theatre. She studied classical voice training in Toronto for five years before moving first to Victoria, and then to Salt Spring with her husband Jaysun and their then three-year-old child Kane in 2004.
The Theatre Alive society has deep roots on Salt Spring, first created by Diana Hayes and Yvonne Adalian in 1984 to bring innovative literary and theatre events to local audiences.
Humphreys, who just published his 22nd novel — Someday I’ll Find You — said he is so busy with writing and travelling, and “being a one-man band” with Theatre Alive was a lot of work, though rewarding.
“I felt fresh blood, with all the enthusiasm that Maggie brings, will allow more shows, a wider remit and lots of thinking entertainment for a hungry audience of Salt Springers,” he said.
O’Scalleigh plans to diversify Theatre Alive offerings and to hopefully increase revenue for ArtSpring at the same time.
“I want to see if we can find more programming through Theatre Alive that will get more bums in seats; people who wouldn’t necessarily have gone to ArtSpring before.”
As well, O’Scalleigh wants to present more stories from Black, Indigenous, people of colour and immigrant writers.
“There’s more playwrights coming forward, more stories being told, and readers theatre is really enacting a story,” she said.
O’Scalleigh is inviting participation and ideas from community members interested in theatre and story telling. The society’s annual general meeting will be held via Zoom on Sunday, July 23 at 6 p.m. Contact O’Scalleigh at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the link and for more information.