Ship's Company invites merchants to join in the fun

Andrew Wagstaff
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Promotion asks shop owners what being a Maritimer means to them

Ship's Company Theatre light and sound technician Crystal Chettiar checks over some lights as the theatre readies for its 2012 season. The first mainstage production of the summer will be The Maritime Way of Life, and the company is hoping to engage the local business community in a fun promotion for the show.

PARRSBORO - What does being a Maritimer mean to you? It's a question Ship's Company Theatre is asking local shopkeepers in an effort to promote its upcoming mainstage production of The Maritime Way of Life, a popular comedy penned by Cumberland County native Charlie Rhindress. Merchants are being asked to decorate a display in their place of business that reflects their views on being Maritimers. "The play is kind of a spoof on all things Maritime, so we thought it would be kind of fun if businesses would do what being a Maritimer means to them, and do a display in their store," explained marketing director Gleneida Canning. She likened the promotion to a similar one undertaken several years ago by the business community in support of Ship's Company's production of Chairmaker: The Musical, that saw merchants paint their own chairs and display them along Main Street. The promotion drew a lot of participation and was considered a huge success at the time. "We're just trying to get the community more involved in what the theatre's doing, and getting the theatre more involved in the community," said Canning. The promotion is wide open to the creativity of the participants, with Ship's Company only offering one bit of direction - have fun. "They can set up a display in their window or place of business of something that represents the Maritimes to them," she said. "If that means a fishing weir, or whatever, they might do something like that, but it's meant to be fun and lighthearted." The public will be invited to pick out its favourite display by voting on Facebook, with the winner to be announced at the play's opening night gala. The winner will receive two tickets to a Ship's Company event of their choice. Response from the merchants so far has been minimal, according to Canning, who said she understands, being a former Main Street merchant herself. "We sent out a mail-out awhile ago, and I'm going to do a reminder," she said. "I'm a last minute person. If the deadline was tomorrow, I'd probably be starting it tonight, and probably a lot of them are like that too." Activity around the theatre has been picking up for what is being described as the "Summer of Laughter" ahead. Rehearsals for The Maritime Way of Life, directed by Karen Valanne, were to begin on June 5, and the crew arrived last week to begin preparations. All mainstage events this year will be comedies, with the August production to be The Nuttalls, by Michael Healey, and the special September production to be Shakespeare on Trial by Jeremy Webb.

Organizations: Maritime Way

Geographic location: PARRSBORO, Cumberland County

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