Arts Briefs 

Whistler Arts Council presents a winter's worth of arts and entertainment

There's no doubt about it, there's a serious appetite for the arts in Whistler.

The question then becomes, how do we sate everyone's hunger for music, theatre, comedy and dance? Enter the Whistler Arts Council and its annual Performance Series, a program designed to showcase a range of professional acts from outside of the community - either from across Canada or further abroad - to Whistler residents and visitors.

"It really is to sort of present something that nobody else presents," WAC's Executive Director, Doti Niedermayer, explained during a recent interview. "There are bars and clubs in town that present music shows and bar bands, and they have a great record of doing that. There have been some amazing acts that have come through Whistler and there's great venues for that in town. So we're looking at presenting something where an audience isn't drinking, is quiet, is focused on the performer, and present a diversity.

"I think what we're striving for is to present a diversity of arts disciplines, so not just music, not just theatre - we want to kind of present a bit of everything, because it is the only program of its kind."

Since 1987, WAC has presented a wide range of theatre, music, dance and comedy acts from across Canada and abroad at an affordable price. And this year, the Performance Series is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever, with some impressive international acts including Septeto Nacional, a Cuban seven-piece band. Canadian indie rockers The Trews, and Alpha Yaya Diallo are also on board.

WAC also hopes to challenge people to move outside of their comfort zone and experience something new with the series.

"That's the key, is understanding what the community is interested in but pushing the boundaries every now and again a little bit, because you don't want to just serve up the same meal all the time."

This year, Niedermayer said there are a few professional performances that push the proverbial envelope: The Christmas Carol Project and Songs Are Like Tattoos: A Tribute to Joni Mitchell.

The majority of the Performance Series is programmed through the B.C. Touring Council, a network of agents, presenters, managers and artists from across the country that shares information about their shows with small community groups like WAC.

"That has been an amazing program," Niedermayer said. "In order for small communities like Whistler, Nelson, Fort St. John and Cranbrook to actually connect with groups that are from Ontario and Quebec and are touring across the country... I mean, how do those people ever connect with a tiny town in the middle of B.C. or up north?"

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