The Nose Creek Players (NCP) theatre company has partnered with a local photographer to sell custom Airdrie-themed mugs in an effort to raise funds for the company’s upcoming performances and programs.
While the theatre company had to shift online earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic to provide workshops and other limited programming, NCP is now able to return to its pre-pandemic, in-person offerings.
According to NCP board member Karalee Braun, theatre provides a creative outlet for community members, whether they are on stage or behind the scenes. Throughout most of the pandemic, she said there have been next to no opportunities for that kind of outlet.
“A lot of companies adapted to online theatre, but to get back to in-person theatre... there is no replacement for that,” she said.
An NCP Facebook post stated COVID-19 restrictions had a negative impact on the company’s revenue, as many shows and classes were cancelled throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021. The post claimed the pandemic also took away an opportunity for performers to create and connect in a safe space “that meant the world to them.”
Braun said Tim Lowings, photographer and owner of Darkroom Delights – an Etsy shop that sells prints, mugs, and other gifts featuring his landscape photography – has been a long-time supporter of NCP.
“When Tim came up with this fundraiser, one of the board members reached out to him [and] he was very happy and willing to partner with us for this initiative,” she said. “Theatre creates lasting bonds and friendships that start over a mutual love of theatre.
“Without fundraisers and community support, [that] can’t happen.”
The Airdrie-based photographer came up with the idea to sell custom-made mugs with an image of the Nose Creek Bridge on them as a way to support the community during the pandemic. According to the Darkroom Delights shop site, the mug has been dedicated to Airdrie and its various nonprofit and charity groups, with proceeds going to various organizations.
Braun said this three-month partnership will offer patrons a chance to support NCP through a purchase of a mug for $26.95, with $5 from each sale going directly toward NCP programming. She added sales will continue until Sept 18.
“With the community behind and supporting us, we endeavour to create [a] phenomenal experience for each and every person who steps foot into that theatre,” she said.
NCP, a non-profit community theatre group, was established in 2011 at the behest of local theatre advocates. Since that time, the Airdrie-based company has relied on community support to continue to provide workshops, classes, and performances.
“Any profit that we make off of a show goes right back into producing our next show,” Braun said. “Without [community] support, people don’t have that outlet to make friendships, to try creating something that will surprise an audience, or to provide a few magical hours of escape.”
She added there are many other ways for people to support NCP, including financial and material donations. Materials needed include tools to build sets, props, costumes, print programs and advertising materials.
Braun said NCP is also looking for volunteers to build sets, create props and costumes, or to support productions on stage or behind the scenes.
“There are so many opportunities for people to release those creative juices,” she said. “Theatre creates a safe space for all persons to try new things and step out of their comfort zone.
“It challenges you, whether you are developing a character, trying to find the right period costume or a whimsical prop, it allows you to try something that you never thought you could do.”
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