Spotlight - Dot the T Productions

August 9, 2021
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Staying true to its rural roots, Dot the T Productions was established in 2017 in the Township of Lake of Bays, Muskoka. As a professional theatre touring company, Dot the T is committed to bringing high quality cultural experiences to rural communities while providing employment opportunities for local theatre professionals in Muskoka and Parry Sound.

Dot the T’s founder Jan Jacklin is no stranger to the local theatre scene. As co-founder of the Huntsville Community Theatre Company in 2012, she spent over five years cultivating its growth.

“Recognizing that the permanent theatre venue satisfied only a portion of the full-time residents of Muskoka and Parry Sound and that a professional touring company visiting rural communities outside Huntsville would be equally well received and supported, I decided to leave my position as Production Manager, Theatre Manager, and Producer, to establish Dot the T Productions.” – Jan Jacklin

Jacklin also recognized the frustration of local theatre professionals, whose work opportunities in the region were very limited. By utilizing local professionals (directors and actors) and with a strong focus of producing plays written by Canadian playwrights, Dot the T strives to create jobs, build exposure outside the big cities, and help keep the economic benefits in the local economy.

Robin Clipsham* at Chadleigh Outdoor Theatre on Limberslost (August 2020) Credit: Joan Bendon

Trends indicate that many audience members incorporate a restaurant meal or beverage when heading out for an evening of entertainment, so the economic benefits often spin off to local restaurants and shops. In addition, the target timing for performances are spring and fall, which are considered “shoulder” seasons in the region’s tourism-based economy and will bring a much needed injection of activity to the area benefiting the local business community.

Building partnerships was Jacklin’s key to building a successful theatre company in Huntsville. Expanding that philosophy into the greater Muskoka and Parry Sound region is Dot the T’s main focus; tapping into businesses, organizations and associations for support and audience while providing a value-added experience for organizations and businesses utilizing their existing facilities as venues for “pop-up” theatre.

During the lockdowns and restrictions imposed in 2020 and 2021, it was Dot The T’s thinking outside the box that kept theatre alive for three weeks in August with the creation of an outdoor theatre setting on 10 acres in Lake of Bays, allowing audiences to comfortably spread out and enjoy a shared live event – suggesting audiences provide their own chairs, beverages and appetizers created a wonderful experience for Lake of Bays neighbours, friends and friends-not-yet-met.

William Colgate*, Joan Bendon* and Robin Clipsham * at Chadleigh Outdoor Theatre on Limberlost (August 2020) Credit: Jan Jacklin

The local economic development office in Lake of Bays, Chambers of Commerce and arts associations have provided support and welcomed Dot the T’s venture as a valuable addition to the creative economy.

Dot the T Productions is proud to offer opportunities for full-time and seasonal residents to enjoy quality cultural experiences within their own rural communities, while creating jobs and supporting the local economy.

For current production details, go to https://www.dotthetpro.ca/current-tour-info

All pictures are provided with permission from Dot The T Productions.

Cover photo: Joan Bendon* and William Colgate* at Port Carling Performance Centre (August 2018) Credit: Jan Jacklin

*Members of Canadian Actor’s Equity Association

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Copyright Venture Muskoka 2021. We gratefully acknowledge the support of Explorers' Edge in the provision of select photographic images.