By: Max Mehran / Edited By: Caleigh Crow.

As the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at QDF, it’s my mission to open a dialogue between our organization and the community. My hope is to bridge the gap between our theatre companies, English speaking members of the theatre community and beyond, by visiting theatre companies and talking about their goals and mandates, and working culture. Opening this dialogue is, in my view, crucial in our community, and this Inside the QELTC series will attempt to open a window into the ins and outs of the theatre world.

I spoke with Melanie Thompson (Communications Manager) and Patrick Lloyd Brennan (Senior Associate, Sales & Cultural Affairs) at the picturesque Segal Centre for the Performing Arts. The Segal Centre is massive in scope; both in architecture and programming. They are dedicated to both bringing and developing the best of English-language performing arts including theatre, music, and cinema in Montreal.

The centre is home to the professionally staffed Segal Academy that offers performing arts courses, workshops, after-school programs, and camps. An overarching value is a commitment to promoting Jewish arts & culture and cultivating public pride in the Jewish experience, past, present, and future.

Our conversation circled around the role professional theatre companies like the Segal Centre play in the extremely diverse greater Montreal theatre community. Patrick believes that, “the Segal has a certain responsibility to give back to the community”. He explained that the Segal offers a place for learning and training, as well as, renting their spaces and providing resources to support other Montreal independent or professional companies. Patrick also believes the Segal has to be accessible and open to partnerships with different organizations, such as the St-Ambroise Fringe Festival. Melanie adds that as a professional company, “the Segal has a responsibility to lead the way and be an example for the community, while having the ability to support independent theatres and companies in Montreal”.

Patrick and Melanie outlined some of the programs at the Segal that might be of interest to independent theatre artists in Montreal. Every season the Segal is host to independent theatre companies who present diverse programming at the Segal Centre. The guest theatre companies have access to a space, technical resources, box office services, online promotion and access to the Segal’s base of subscribers that can bring a new and larger audience to the guest show. The Segal’s next guest event is Fancy Nancy The Musical opening on February 26th. Produced by the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society, Fancy Nancy is a short musical packed with songs for children ages 3 and up.

‘Broadway Café’ is an initiative wherein artists of all disciplines and backgrounds come to the Segal and perform musical numbers; in a friendly, piano bar environment reminiscent of Greenwich Village in New York City. This is an opportunity for artists from all over the community to participate in an exciting event and perform at the Segal before their friends and patrons of the theatre.

In addition, Segal offers ‘Sundays at the Segal’, a pre-show lecture series, where they invite a panel of guests who discuss different themes related to the play presented.

In addition to being a support system for the Montreal theatre community, the Segal Centre also has a very busy season with professional theatre programming,  new musical development, a musical fundraiser, jazz concerts, and more.

This year’s programming is a typical example of the engaging theatrical work that the company does.  Kim’s Convenience, produced by Toronto company Soulpepper, opens only shortly after Fancy Nancy’s run ends. You may recognize the title as the CBC show that was nominated for many categories at the Canadian Screen Awards. Notably, the theatre production is starring the same leads as the TV show, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon. There is a post-show Meet-and-Greet event on March 13th where people can get a chance to interact with the cast.

Based on true rock ‘n’ roll history, Million Dollar Quartet opens at the Segal at the end of April and runs until May 14th, after which the show will be extended at  Place-des-Arts’ Cinquième Salle until May 21st.

The Segal Centre is also home to  the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre, one of the oldest Yiddish language production companies in North America celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2018. This year, they are presenting It Shoulda Been You, a musical about the worst kind of wedding crasher: the bride-to-be’s ex-boyfriend.

This and more theatre and musical events await their audience at the Segal and beyond. For the full season program, visit the link here.

As Melanie says herself, when people come to the Segal, “they  know that they can come to the Segal and not just go see plays, but can also enjoy different events like Broadway Café, the Power Jazz Series, and the guest shows in the studio.” The meeting was a great eye-opener to what the Segal does for the community and  the variety of programs it offers. There is so much the Segal does and programs, I now invite you to check out what the Segal has to offer year-round.

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