New Developments at
River Run
The fall of 1999 has brought several changes at Guelph’s premier performing arts facility, including the resignation of Marc Quinn, River Run Centre’s first general manager. A search committee of the River Run Board is currently working to fill the vacancy by early in the spring of 2000. In the interim, Rob Mackay, the Centre’s house manager, will serve as acting general manager. He is working closely with staff member Ella Pauls, who, in addition to her job as head of promotions and development at the Centre, has now taken on the role of program advisor.
Although it is still too early to know just how the River Run Centre and Guelph will be affected by these management changes, two recent announcements point to some very interesting programming directions. One of these new thrusts relates to the encouragement of high-quality professional theatre in Guelph. Following upon the heels of Touchmark Theatre’s successful inaugural season at River Run, the Centre announced the formation of a new long-term partnership with Theatre Aquarius of Hamilton. The third largest professional theatre in Ontario, Theatre Aquarius is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1973. Managing Artistic Director Max Reimer notes that there is a renewed interest in theatre in Canada right now, so the timing for this partnership is excellent. The collaboration allows Theatre Aquarius both to expand its artistic reach and to respond to the strong market for theatre in the Guelph area.
From River Run’s perspective, notes Rob Mackay, the ability to showcase three Theatre Aquarius week-long, main-stage productions starting in the fall of 2000 will ensure consistent artistic delivery, something that has not always been possible with the professional touring theatre that has been available to come to River Run during the past three seasons. Long-term audience building is also a River Run Centre goal being addressed by the new partnership. More details of the season’s offerings will be available at an announcement scheduled for sometime in February 2000.
Another new River Run programming initiative addresses the goal of bringing “children of all ages to River Run Centre to experience the thrill of live performance and to learn about musical and theatrical arts.” For the initial phase of this program, the Saturday Circle Concerts – geared to children ages 3 to 6 and modelled after the very popular Cushion Concerts offered in Kitchener-Waterloo – will be performed by small ensembles from the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.
The first concert on January 15 will be performed by a String Quintet, followed by a Woodwind Quintet on February 26 and a Brass Quintet April 1. For all concerts, symphony members will perform for the children, introducing them to the sounds of various orchestral instruments and showing them what happens when these same instruments are played together. The musicians will also interact informally with the children. Concerts begin at 10:15am and 11am, and last for 45 minutes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is $6 per concert for both children and adults.
There can be little doubt that these two new directions for River Run Centre are positive developments for arts and culture in Guelph, and that they do fill gaps that currently exist in programming. In the months to come, the community will be awaiting additional signals that point to the Centre’s overall artistic vision, and will be looking to be assured that River Run Centre will truly become the home for the performing arts that it was intended to be.

For more information about upcoming programs at River Run Centre, consult the Inside Calendar Page of this publication, or call the Box Office at (519) 763-3000.