Chronicling a Love Affair with Canadian Theatre


My ever so polite “rant” about programme policies at Ontario theatres has been posted at Stratford Festival Reviews. I encourage you to not only read it but to share your thoughts in the comments. Not mentioned in the article is the fact that the minuscule Foster Festival, which one might assume is the most impecunious of Ontario’s festivals, somehow manages to provide its patrons with a four-color programme for Norm Foster’s 1812.

One Response

  1. My (polite, respectfully Canadian) comments on your well-reasoned rant:

    A small fee is a marvelous compromise solution. Ringling Bros along with a number of professional sports organizations figured that out a long time ago. An elaborate, 4-color (or even 6-color) large format programme is available for an unreasonable fee and purchased by the parents of nagging or spoilt (arch.) children who want them as lifelong souvenirs. Or at least two-week-long souvenirs.

    Because you’re a theatre devotee, all your reasons for wanting a hard-copy programme make sense. I remember watching my wife rummage through her lifetime stack of Playbills to reference a memorable performance or production. Or, in cases like Moose Murders, Carmelina or A Meeting By The River, totally forgettable productions as well. But I’m afraid to tell you that you’re in the minority. Most (even enthusiastic) theatergoers appreciate their programme more for a pre-curtain substitute for their TVs than for any professional or memorable reasons and I would suspect they get tossed…if not in the lobby trash than in their recycle bins when they get home.

    Printing a limited number is certainly a fine idea. And, in cases of great Broadway turkeys like Marilyn! or Mamma Mia, their rarity would add to the ephemeric (and theater-snob) value. We have a copy of the “special edition” program that was printed for the single performance of A Chorus Line the evening it became Broadway’s longest-running show. Could we retire on the proceeds? Not likely, but it’s an excellent object to take to Antiques Roadshow should it ever come to our town.

    All snide remarks aside, however, I vote for “limited run, on-request” hard copies.

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