Jan Irwin (Easy Street Productions) and Amanda West Lewis (Ottawa Children’s Theatre) began collaborating on Up to Low in 2012. This is a very local project –the story takes place here, the writer lives here, as does the artistic team – you get the picture. We hoped that sense of Ottawa and the Valley would generate excitement.
We started with a birthday party/project launch/fundraiser in December 2012. Many reading this will remember the party, and your contributions to it – planning, preparing food, securing donations for/donating to the silent auction, setting up the venue, working at the door, the bar, the auction, performing, buying tickets… And we remember when you came to/organized other events, and your generosity when we passed the hat.
The resulting “war chest” convinced us that we could take the next steps – finish the adaptation, build an artistic team, raise the rest of the funds – a total of about $125,000. Heavy lifting for a couple of independent artist/producers!
We began to write grant applications. Many of them didn’t pan out. Public arts funding is scarce – but The City of Ottawa was there for us and that was encouraging.
Then, the “light bulb” moment that changed everything! Partnerships! Momentum picked up:
- Great Canadian Theatre offered us space for a reading of the script-in-progress, and liked what they heard
- Cube Gallery hosted a reading to which we invited the NAC and Odyssey Theatre
- Odyssey Theatre jumped on board accepting us into their New Play Development Program, a supportive relationship that also enables us to issue charitable tax receipts for donations over $35
- National Arts Centre, English Theatre offered development funds through “The Collaborations.”
- The Municipality of Low, Quebec hosted a script-workshop reading at Brennan’s Hill Hotel where we found our production style
- A generous award from Ontario Arts Council confirmed the go-ahead!
- And, importantly, a brilliant Steering Committee formed to help – huge wattage resulted!
Thanks to all of your from 2012 to 2015 who have helped lift Up to Low on stage. We honestly couldn’t have done it without you.
You have our undying gratitude.