Watermark gets creative as live theatre on hold

An Island theatre company says it's taking the pause caused by COVID-19 to refocus and work on projects that can't be done during a regular busy season. 

Mentorship program — and some renos — go ahead

Theatre manager Andrea Surich says they've taken the opportunity to fix parts of the building. (Watermark Theatre/Facebook)

An Island theatre company says it's taking the pause caused by COVID-19 to refocus and work on projects that can't be done during a regular busy season. 

There are no theatrical productions taking place at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico, P.E.I., this season, but the space is hosting a concert series, with shows being broadcast online.

Staff have also decided to go ahead with their annual theatre mentorship program.

Andrea Surich, general manager of the Watermark Theatre, said the beauty of being part of a creative organization is the ability to take something negative and turn it into a positive. 

'Breaks our hearts'

"It breaks our hearts for sure not being able to produce theatre but I think because we're a creative organization, we should be able to take a crisis like this and turn left and make it still work for us," she said.

"So the internship workshops is one thing that we're doing, we've pivoted on our music series and we're also fixing the building, which we can never do in the summertime."

Interns aren't able to come to North Rustico this summer, so they've been learning online instead. (Shane Ross/CBC)

The mentorship program is being done through Zoom instead of in person. 

Rebecca Ford, who graduated from the costume studies program at Dalhousie University, is one of the interns this year. She said it's disappointing there is no live theatre, but the online workshops — how to make fake blood, for example — have still been helpful.

"It's really great to learn from mentors that have so much experience and are so passionate about working in the theatre and just to hear their stories and to learn from them has been so inspiring in itself."

Interns invited back

Surich said the interns will be invited back next year with hopes there will be live theatre.

She said financially, she's confident the Watermark will be able to weather COVID-19. 

"Obviously it's scary because we have no revenues coming in but I feel like we have an audience that trusts us, so I think that we'll be able to move forward in a pretty healthy way."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.