Something fresh, something familiar, pushing boundaries, and promoting Canadian talent - this is the balancing act that Lindy Sisson, executive director of The ACT, faces when choosing performances for a Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows audience.
Much of her work is about building the trust of her audience, so that when she does bring something unfamiliar to the stage at The ACT, her audience will take a chance and come and see it.
A presenter in a performance arts centre is tasked with connecting the artist with the audience - the person who "curates" the performing arts, Sisson explained, which keeps "live performance alive" focusing on the artists.
"Without the presenters who are willing to take the risks, you wouldn't see half the artists that you do," Sisson said.
Sisson was recognized as Presenter of the Year by the BC Touring Council this past Saturday.
While other staff take care of the gallery and programming, Sisson is in charge of live performances in the theatre portion of The ACT.
To get an act to a venue is a lot of work, and Sisson's job is to decide what performances will sell tickets, but also to push boundaries letting the audience experience something they haven't seen before.
When choosing programs, Sisson said she tends to go with some new shows, some familiar programs, and programs that cross all genres.
Sisson said she's building "brand loyalty" so people who see something new being offered at The ACT will trust her choice and come to see it.
Her role is also to promote Canadian artists, something that recording companies no longer do, Sisson said.
Canadian Heritage support has risen from $7,000 per year, to a recent two-year grant of $14,000 per year, "which means they see the value of what we present," Sisson said.
Choosing shows for The ACT can be "tricky," Sisson said, because the audience is largely a commuter population who can also choose to stay downtown for a show.
"But I think people like to go to shows in their own backyard," she added.
The ACT is also attracting people from around the Lower Mainland, with some unique shows like Celtic Crossroads and 54.40.
"It's cool when people come here," she said.
@ Copyright 2013