© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
Evie Koop Sawatzky, artistic director of RuBarb Productions Inc., and her daughter Katie pose outside Moose Jaw's first theatre company's office that will open on Nov. 1.
Moose Jaw’s first theatre company office to open Nov. 1
In less than a week, Moose Jaw’s first theatre company will open its box office for the first time.
“The board has such a really huge vision that this will outlive all of us,” said Evie Koop Sawatzky, artistic director of RuBarb Productions Inc. “(The vision is) this will be Moose Jaw’s theatre company and provide opportunities for local professional artists, for artists in Saskatchewan that used to live here or people who have gone away and studied and are looking forward to coming home.”
The non-profit theatre company will open its doors at 321 Main St. N. on Nov. 1.
“What makes this location really excellent is obviously it’s downtown in the tourism part of the city and it’s just a block away from our theatre that we always perform in (at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre),” she said. “The connections of being down here (are) definitely a highlight of this location.”
RuBarb Productions will host its first fundraising gala at Temple Gardens Mineral Spa on Nov. 8 with cocktails at 6 p.m. and the event at 7 p.m. There will be a silent auction, live entertainment, the full season announcement and a buffet.
People will have a chance to buy the first season passes at the gala. Tickets are $100 each with a $50 tax receipt. For tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 306-693-1771. As of Nov. 1 when the office opens, gala tickets can be purchased on site as well.
Sawatzky said there will be five productions in the first season.
“They’ll include straight plays and Broadway musicals and comedies and well-recognized pieces."
The play dates are from Dec. 5 to 7, from Feb. 13 to 15, from April 3 to 5, from June 12 to 14 and from July 31 to Aug. 17.
Sawatzky said RuBarb Productions will add to the quality of life in the City of Moose Jaw. Donations and sponsorship are always needed and come with benefits such as a tax receipt.
“(The company will offer) opportunity for our youth that are growing up in a very cultured community, but that has very little to offer professionally for them in terms of work in the future in the arts,” said Sawatzky. “We’ve got great high schools that are passionate about the arts. We’ve got great dance schools that are regularly recognized by adjudicators that come through as being just top notch and we need a place that can recognize them sustainably as professionals.”
She added at some point, she will offer voice, beginner piano, musical theatre and drama classes at RuBarb Production’s office in the evenings to anyone interested. Currently she independently offers those lessons. There will be classes for adults and children.
“At some point here, we’ll be offering the space for rehearsal space for people to use or some different bands around town. It’s just hard to find a good space to rehearse,” said Sawatzky. “Eventually we’ll be having a rental capability as well.”
In the future, the rental option will apply to costumes that will be stored in the downstairs portion of the office. She estimated there will be between 5,000 and 8,000 costumes and 250 wigs.
Right now, all of the costumes and accessories are stored at different locations in the city.
“With the space that this facility affords us, we have the opportunity to organize them in such a way that they can be quickly found and essentially a costume library that can be easily maintained,” said Sawatzky. “That would be for personal rentals or for groups that are doing productions as well.”
Sawatzky said she and her mother, Ruth Koop, founded the company in 2006. The name of the company is a combination of the mother-daughter middle names. Sawatzky’s middle name is Ruth and Koop’s middle name is Barbara and so it became RuBarb.
“It really comes from the family tradition of RuBarb and our cast members often say, ‘Thank you for allowing me to join RuBarb family’ and it really is about relationships,” she said. “That name embodies the quality that we’re known for, but then also the family aspect of our company.”
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.