Hello World! And Welcome to Tweed! It’s been a long and winding road to this point in our journey, but we are incredibly excited to be here, and to be reaching this moment just in time for a thrilling 2015 season.
I founded IANA Theatre Company in 2009. Myself and many other intrepid young musical theatre performers had noticed a severe lack in original Canadian Musical Theatre production, as well as an absence of remounts of Canadian Musicals. So we decided to take matters into our own hands. I recruited a group of talented young friends to come along for the journey, and we started creating work together. Over the course of the next couple years we got together frequently, and created a range of work that we are incredibly proud of, and incredibly excited for the future of. This was really a short five years ago, but a lot became apparent in that time. For starters, the more shows we did, and the more people began to recognize us as a company, the more we realized that no one could say our name. While comical to us, and always a favourite moment during radio interviews and in post performance chats, it became clear that this was a hindrance in increasing our audiences. How can you spur on word of mouth when people don’t know the word coming out of their mouths? And as much as I love the intention of the name IANA (Short for CanadIANA as part of our mandate is the creation and production of original Canadian Musical Theatre) it became increasingly difficult to translate.
We have also grown continually closer to our home theatre in Tweed, ON. And while we have seen great success producing across the province, it became clear that we were becoming known as, “That theatre company in Tweed”, or “The Tweed Theatre Company”. And why not? We love our hometown, and we have always had a strong association with it, and we want to grow and flourish in that relationship.
And as much as our intentions were good in naming the company something directly related to our national identity, I don’t think anyone got it. People thought we were named after a ballerina in Russia, or “I AM A Theatre Company”. Nope.
So how do we even more directly connect to our desire and purpose in pursuing the national Canadian identity, and in growing and enhancing the cultural landscape of our country, promoted through our brand?
After much deliberation and a slew of new ideas, the concept of tying ourselves directly to our community became the clear objective. We plan to continue to produce work both in Tweed and across the province, (including of course, our great national arts and cultural centre, the city of Toronto) but our identity as a small town producer of BIG theatrical work began to quickly take the reigns. And could you find a more stolid, natural and pure identity and logo than Tweed? The town, the history, the fabric, the community, all scream the brand that we represent and the work that we produce. Quality, authentic, original and organic is our brand and our work.
And of course, it helps that people can pronounce it, that they can associate it with a real place, and that they can easily remember and share with their friends and the greater community at large the great work that they recently saw at a theatre near them.
Finally, and maybe most importantly of all, we have “& Company”. We decided on this follow through for many reasons. For starters, it evokes that classic epitaph of a hard run business, curators and creators of a quality product created in a down home environment. We wanted to evoke that old British tradition of a hard working shoe-maker, that sought after leather smith, or the contracting firm that built those first foundations of those beautiful European homes. “& Company” represents all of the quality and integrity of the past and the future that we put into all of our work, both original and already produced. And of course, we are a Company. We are a company of actors, a company of creators, a company of influencers, and a company of people, striving for the best possible product, and the best possible audience interaction. We have always taken great pride in the way we produce our work as a collective or ensemble of performers, where everyone’s opinions and ideas are taken into account, work-shopped, played with, and presented in the final product. Our shows are a representation of the thoughts and talents of our entire group, not just a select few individuals, which makes for some truly thrilling theatre.
So. Tweed & Company. Welcome.
This is our future, but it does not negate our past. We are the same company that we have been, and only plan on improving and growing on our past successes, and starting each new project with fresh eyes and a fresh heart. This is the beginning of a new journey, but also a great continuation of a beautiful past. Since our inception in 2009 we have seen many great successes. Three Original Canadian Musicals presented in original Workshop form, and ALL of them remounted to great success. A BroadwayWorld.com award for best independent production in 2011 for ‘TWEED: A New Canadian Musical’. Our show ‘ALECK BELL’ was picked up for professional production at theatres across the province. Our first commissioned piece ‘STALKYARD HURTS’ was critically acclaimed in its original workshop and has an incredibly exciting future. (More on that coming very soon!). We have worked with artists who have gone on to Broadway, Stratford, Mirvish, Soulpepper and beyond. We have brought quality Musical Theatre pieces from around the world to the Tweed stage to great critical and audience acclaim. We have brought live theatre to a regional audience and to many underserved regional communities, and our performances have been enjoyed by tens of thousands of patrons across the province. It has been a thrilling and intoxicating five years, and we can’t wait to see all that the future holds in store.
So thank you for coming along for the ride these past years, and we can’t wait to ride into the future with you. We owe every patron, sponsor and friend of the company a huge debt of gratitude for all of your help and support in getting us to this point today, we love you all and thank you for supporting Original Canadian work, and local talent and creation. And now, onwards and upwards! To 2015 and beyond!!! See you in Tweed!
-Tim & Tweed & Company