If you happened to be in Huntsville for this summer’s Nuit Blanche North festival you probably came across Theatre Arcturus‘s high-flying performance in River Mill Park. If you enjoyed the group’s performance then you’re in luck as the death-defying, acrobatic performers have recently made Muskoka their new home base.
Theatre Arcturus is a performing arts group that blends circus arts with theatre for a unique and visually impressive experience. The group has been lauded for its most recent efforts, Weird, by a number of festivals including the Ottawa Fringe Festival. It is the brain child of Lindsay Bellaire (whom you more than likely saw twirling on a set of silks during the group’s Nuit Blanche performance) and Phillip Psutka. The two have recently (think last week) moved their operation from Toronto to the Falkenburg Road area of Bracebridge.
Bellaire says the choice to make the leap from urban to rural was a marriage of business and lifestyle.
“It was partially a life change. We love the area and we found that living in the city was a bit too fast paced for us. As far as business goes, we’re able to keep the connections we have in Toronto and keep expanding on that because it’s not too far away.” She says, adding that the group will be splitting their time between Toronto and Muskoka, but hopes to establish a presence in the local arts scene and work with local performers.
Muskoka was a good fit, according to Bellaire who says that while there is a flourishing arts scene here, there isn’t anyone doing specifically what they are.
“There aren’t really any circus companies up here – there are theatre companies and definitely an arts community but no one is doing the kind of work we’re doing up here, yet. We saw an open market or at least an opportunity for a market here.”
That market includes both commercial and creative endeavours, says Bellaire, who trains four times per week (outside of rehearsal and physical conditioning) to stay in ready-to-go shape and has been reaching out to local resorts and groups for performance opportunities.
“We’re working on aerial acts, juggling, things of that nature that can be pulled out for festivals and events,” she says.
With harsh winters for nearly half the year it can be hard for anyone to make a living year-round in Muskoka, let alone a business that relies heavily on tourist events, but Bellaire and Psutka have considered this and are in it for the long haul with work in and out of the city while also looking to create a training and teaching facility here.
“A big part of our goal is to have a facility to train as well as teach classes at so that we can work outside of the city,” Bellaire says adding that she has already started teaching classes at Muskoka Dance Connection where she has filled her classes.
Despite being a newly-minted Muskokan, Bellaire has been coming to the region for many years to camp and canoe and spent much of the last summer in the Huntsville area working with Edge of the Woods, so they’re already partially estbalished having performed at the fundraiser for Huntsville’s men’s shelter and at the Nuit Blanche Festival, among others.
Bellaire, Psutka and Theatre Arcturus will be bringing Weird in its entirety to the stage of the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville on Oct. 29 and 30 at 8 p.m., almost as if it were a formal “hello” to the community they are now a part of.
Bellaire says the full telling of the play will be much different from their Nuit Blanche North performance, which was only one segment of the larger play.
“Nuit Blanche North was basically just an aerial section of the show… this one is the actually show, it’s a full story,” she says, adding that the full performance expands on the story and includes music, circus arts and a generally more spectacular performance.
Tickets for Weird can be found at the Algonquin Threatre box office.