By: Caleigh Crow
“As a company, we are very loud about our activities,” says Amy Blackmore, Executive and Artistic Director of MainLine Theatre, “but we keep pretty quiet about our community successes.” Hopefully that will change soon as La Conseil des arts de Montréal is providing Amy, MainLine Theatre, and the St-Ambroise Montréal FRINGE Festival with the opportunity to do just that as one of five finalists vying for the Grand Prix, a prestigious award that recognizes “Montréal artistic organizations and [their] remarkable achievements, and highlights the artistic vitality of creators from Montréal,” per the Conseil’s website. I spoke with Amy to get her thoughts and considerations on the nomination and the prospect of winning the Grand Prix.
Amy credits MainLine Theatre’s “extraordinary year” for the nomination. In 2016, MainLine opened their new space, the MainLine Gallery, and hosted the first FRINGE World Congress held outside of Edinburgh. These are just two of the jewels in MainLine’s crown for 2016 and Amy is grateful for the “pat on the back for the strength of the work.”
The winner will be announced at a luncheon at Le Palais de congress de Montréal and awarded $30,000. Finalists each receive a $5,000 prize, which Amy says she will make go a long way at MainLine. She intends to accomplish “major marketing goals” broaden the reach of MainLine and the St-Ambroise Montréal FRINGE Festival. Most of all, Amy is thrilled to see the importance of the festival in the Montréal arts community affirmed. “There isn’t anyone working in Canadian theatre not touched by a FRINGE Festival,” Amy says with pride, “There are FRINGErs all over this city.”
Being nominated for the prize doesn’t just bring monetary winnings. Amy is hoping that the public exposure will prompt recognition of MainLine as more than a theatre company. “We’re known as a performing arts festival,” she explains, “but we have grown into part theatre, part service organization, part community centre.” Indeed, hundreds of volunteers go through their door each year, and Amy respects their contributions in addition to the artists, donors, and patrons of the theatre.
“I’m proud of how far we’ve come,” Amy says, and I can hear the truth of it in her voice. Looking to the future, kinship is an important theme. “We cast a really wide net,” she reflects, “This is a year I hope people come together.” There will be an opportunity to do so soon as MainLine Gallery will host their annual silent auction fundraiser coming up to kick off the festival season on April 8th. The work of Amy and her comrades at MainLine and the St-Ambroise Montréal FRINGE Festival carries on even when there’s a glamorous luncheon to attend.
Here at QDF we extend our warmest congratulations to everyone at MainLine and St-Ambroise Montréal FRINGE Festival for their well-deserved recognition as a nominee for the 32nd Conseil des arts Grand Prix. We celebrate all five finalists for their artistic contributions to Montréal, and we continue to look forward to another year in a vibrant and thriving arts community.