City council launches new Local Arts Residency at The Grand Theatre

Residency will be first use of theatre space since March 2020

Image by: Jodie Grieve
Residency will reanimate The Grand Theatre.

The Grand Theatre, a performing arts hub of downtown Kingston, has been empty since the first lockdown of March 2020. Now, four artists will be given the chance to grace the stage.

Perhaps more than any other art form, the performing arts have been hit hard by the pandemic and social distancing measures. In response, The Grand Theatre Local Arts Residency was developed to support performers. 

The deadline to apply is Apr. 23 and more details can be found on the City of Kingston’s website. 

The Journal sat down with Danika Lochhead, manager of Arts and Sector Development at the City of Kingston, to discuss what they’re looking for from applicants. 

“The [residency] is the most recent program that tries to think about how we can use the Grand Theatre in a way that supports local artists in Kingston,” she said. “The goal of the residency is to provide the Regina Rosen space, offer professional development opportunities and support artists in the creation of new work.”  

Four artists or teams of artists will be selected over the course of the summer. Each recipient will be offered the Regina Rosen Auditorium for a week to engage in any self-directed creation process of their choosing. Residents will also receive professional guidance from Grand Theatre staff, and a $1,000 honorarium for artistic expenses. 

“This residency aims to animate the Regina Rosen, but it will not be open to live performances,” Lochhead said. 

“Essentially how it’ll work is artists will be able to come in to use the stage for rehearsal, practice, research. It will really be a chance for them just to focus on their own work, and then there will be one component of the residency that will include a [digital] public presentation.” 

Lochhead touched on how damaging COVID-19 has been for the performing arts community and how the residency seeks to undo some of that harm. 

“The performing arts, particularly, is a gig economy. So many people have lost jobs in the performing arts sector. Venues are closed. Musicians, artists, actors are not able to perform in the way that they used to.” 

The idea for the residency came about when Lochhead and her team were brainstorming ways to provide spaces for artists to work during the pandemic. Rather than allow the Grand Theatre to continue going unused, they realized that space could be offered to performers in Kingston who have been eagerly waiting to get back on stage. 

“We had space which generally had been occupied by performances and events in non-COVID times, and we recognized an opportunity to use the Grand Theatre in a way that it hadn’t been used before for the local arts community,” said Lochhead. 

“I have such a strong desire to support artists in our community, and so this program specifically means a lot to me.


Artist in Residence, Covid-19, The Grand Theatre

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