Smith returns to the helm of the Blyth Festival

Peter Smith.

BLYTH – Peter Smith is back at the Blyth Festival.

The board of directors announced his appointment as interim artistic director to replace Eric Coates, who will join the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa as artistic director in September.

Wendy Hoernig, who is the board’s president, said the decision came after a review of a large number of impressive applications.

“It speaks very highly of the calibre of theatre talent in our country,” she said. “It also made the final choice extremely difficult. However we feel that we’ve made the right decision for this interim position. Peter is passionate about our community, our theatre and the importance of telling our stories. We are delighted to have him returning, and are all looking forward to an exciting theatre season next year.”

Peter Smith sees the position as a bridge and with his history of collaborative work across the country he will be the ideal person to lead the company through a year of transition, as the organization embarks on a search for the next artistic director.

Blyth audiences will remember Smith’s work in the community with plays such as Many Hands by Dale Hamilton during his previous turn at the helm in the early 1990s.

More recently, he guided the collaborative play Hometown, premiered at the Blyth Festival in 2011, which brought together six playwrights, one composer and a translator.  Smith is an actor, director, producer and writer.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be coming back to the Festival and to be working with (theatre manager Deb Sholdice), the board and the community at this fabulous theatre company. I look forward to seeing you in the audience in our exciting 2013 season,” he said.

Coates will leave Blyth at the end of September, after programming the 2013 season.

“I have a terrific relationship with Peter and I am delighted to work with him during this transition. He is truly a man of the theatre: a wonderful writer, director, community leader and advocate for our beloved festival,” he said.

The board will begin a search for the next artistic director in late fall.

The Blyth Festival is a summer repertory company with a specific interest in new Canadian work that reflects life in rural communities. The company operates in Blyth Memorial Hall, a 450-seat heritage building.

Written by on August 27, 2012 in Blyth, Entertainment and Arts - No comments

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