In some ways, the opening act of the E.A. Rawlinson’s season tells the story of the entire 2019-20 program.
Wednesday night, Australian blues guitarist Lloyd Speigel will take the stage in a show that is both the first of the centre’s on stage series and the first of the 2019-20 programming year.
The other act of the week, Aaron Pritchett, set to hit the stage Friday, and the third act of the season, the family-friendly TerZetto, also showcase some of what Dicke is trying to do with the upcoming season.
“Diversity, something that’s going to appeal to a wide range of people,” Dicke said about the program when asked what excited her about the lineup.
“I’m looking at quality. One of the things I’m focusing on is working with our presenting partners across Western Canada. That allows us to bring works in we wouldn’t normally have access to.”
An example of that is Backbone, an Australian acro-circus troupe.
“They are a sought-after and phenomenal, large troupe that comes through. It’s a challenge for all of us, but because so many of us came together to do it, we’re sharing resources and ability to bring it here.”
The Prince Albert show, set for Nov. 13, is the troupe’s only Saskatchewan performance.
“I look for things that appeal to our tried and true fans and I look for things that are going to develop audiences so we’re going to bring it in and make it comfortable.”
To do that, Dicke said, she focused on finding variety in genres, disciplines and performance styles, including comedy, classical, country, pop, rock and theatre. rock.
She highlighted the classic albums live series, three shows, each a tribute to a classic album, one by Pink Floyd, one by Tom Petty, and one from the Beatles, coming to the centre throughout the season.
Dicke was also able to bring in three big-ticket names, with the help of sponsor Canadian Tire. That series includes Burton Cummings on Oct. 3, Emerson Drive on Nov. 6 and Serena Ryder on Dec. 8.
In addition to the Canadian Tire Series and the Classic Albums Live Series, the Centre has organized the onstage series, featuring Spiegel, Confessions of a Coffee Shop Girl on Jan. 28 and returning act Johnny McCuaig (recently renamed as Arcana Kings). That series has both audience members and artists sharing the stage, giving a more intimate, close-up performance.
The Rawlinson Centre has also bundled a family series.
“We actually put together a package for families at a really, really affordable price, so it’s great for families to be able to come out,” Dicke said. “It’s cheaper than a movie and it’s live entertainment.”
The centre is also letting people build their own series, selecting six, eight, ten or all 26 shows for progressively larger discounts.
“It makes people happy to know that they have control over the way they want to spend their entertainment dollar and entertainment time.”
The important thing for people to know, Dicke said, is the importance of coming out to a show.
“We have coast-to-coast represented in our artists, and we have international acts. We have things that people are still getting used to, like the onstage series, something that’s very different in terms of how we engage our audience. I want to keep our diversity, I want to keep people recognizing that we’re really keeping an eye on the quality … of the acts we’re bringing in,” she said.
Dicke said she knows people are busy, but she is encouraging residents to see what can work with their schedules.
‘We get so busy and then we hear about it later and say ‘ I wish I’d known.’” She said.
“There are so many ways to be connected to the centre. People are starting to take advantage and we’re seeing it in the (ticket sales), but inevitably we’ll get someone who comes in and says ‘I just didn’t know.’
“Come out and be part of something live. It’s not Netflix on your couch, it’s live in your community. We want people to feel comfortable … to have a chance to come out and engage with something.”