Okay, so it’s been a big weekend of your inbox being filled with one million emails about Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals and yadda yadda yadda…and now Tuesday’s here and it’s one more day where you’re being asked to spend money. We get it!
Here’s the thing - Giving Tuesday doesn’t come with buyer’s remorse, or the worry of something fitting poorly or being the wrong colour or the wrong gift. Hopefully, what it does come with, is lots of good feelings and excitement from supporting a community project that brings many people together in the summertime on PEI, to build something big and ambitious and strange and spectacular. Something larger and wilder than our individual imaginations ever thought could be possible. So, if you’ve emerged from this weekend of spending (or not spending!) with some money left in your wallet, consider supporting the 2019 River Clyde Pageant. A donation of any size helps us get next summer’s project off the ground and into the fields and waterways of New Glasgow and the River Clyde.
But you don’t have to just take my word for it. Read on to hear from some of the folks who are part of the big Pageant family, about why this project is so important to them, and why it’s worth supporting.
farmer, Little Victory Microfarms
“What I love most about the Pageant is the life it brings to the village of New Glasgow in the weeks leading up to the performances. Like the arrival of high tide, the village is flooded with creativity. Working in the garden, I’ll hear a chorus of kids’ voices echo over the river or spot a masterpiece of papier-mâché unfold from a hedgerow, and it lifts my spirit. Even something as simple as seeing the cast and crew walk and bike between buildings during rehearsals and workshops is like stepping back to a simpler time, when villages were not quiet relics of the past but thriving with a sense of place and community.”
Ian McFarlane, Pageant Puppet builder
“Theatre has always felt necessary to me, but always in an abstracted way. Whether it has been staging Shakespeare or touring an original work, making theatre felt as if I was pretending that my voice was reverberating beyond the walls of the theatre and into the world around me. Working on the Pageant is a different experience. I see the work emerge from the world around us: the stage is made out of earth, the songs come from the mouths of our neighbours, the story is told by our children. Working on the Pageant reminds me that I am shaping and being shaped by a community, and that the act of performing is about more than pretending, it is about moving with others into a collective imagining of how we can exist together.”
Marianne Rendòn, lead vocalist & choir
“The River Clyde Pageant has completely changed my life. Collaborating with the community members around New Glasgow has given me faith in the future of storytelling. I had been working in commercial theater, on TV & in films for years before my summer in New Glasgow. I loved arriving to work everyday in the fields on Robin & Debbie & Tara's farm. I was inspired by kid's firecracker instincts on stage. I was moved singing in a choir with both trained & untrained voices. I believe everyone has the impulse to sing, dance, and tell stories of their surroundings. Megan, Ker, & the citizens of PEI have restored my faith in the performing arts.”
Joanna Caplan, guest artist in 2016 & 2018
“While there are many reasons why I believe in the River Clyde Pageant I think that at its core the Pageant brings people together in a pure and important way; to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. This “something” is a necessary vitality that inspires and nourishes everyone that comes into contact with it. The River Clyde Pageant is an extraordinary and life-affirming project that I am grateful to be part of.”
Jane Wells, associate director & kids drama leader
“On one night last summer, the performance was delayed because of heavy rain. Ker and Megan decided that if the rain stopped by 7:30pm, we could go ahead with the show. As audience huddled faithfully in their cars, waiting for the rain to stop, the cast sheltered under tarps and trees (and some of the children danced heedlessly in the great wide open). The bulk of us were collected under a large tarp, and we started chanting, continuously, “Rain, rain, go away!” It kept pouring, truly thunderous on the suspended tarp: and then, at what felt like the height of the chant, it stopped. And it stayed stopped. And we all stared at each other, astonished, joyous, at our power. The show went on.
It’s not that I actually believe that we stayed the rain spirits. (Although they must have been impressed by our tenacity.) But the moment represents to me something essential about the Pageant, what keeps us coming back to it each summer: the power of people together, speaking singing dancing paddling, can lead us to elemental transformations.”
Anne Paulus, guest artist in 2017 & 2018
“The culture of the Pageant is one of generosity and one of reverence— reverence for the place and a deep respect for those who inhabit it throughout the year. Sunset on The River Clyde should have always been honored with the slow and steady approach of a large and luminescent whale puppet gliding steadily across the river on a scrappy catamaran, attended by a raft of drummers and greeted by a small party of slow-flying dancers clad in watery fabric. But it takes the generosity of many, many imaginations and many, many hands to actualize this sort of thing. And that is exactly what happens in this ambitious, loaves-and-fishes enterprise.”
Emily Wells, Chef & Pageant community supper coordinator
“Over the past 3 years in early June, we year-round residents of New Glasgow start to hear the sights and sounds of the awakening River Clyde Pageant. We've come to expect it and we look forward to it. It begins with the sight of the fledgling stilt walkers in the Gardens of Hope, then the quiet evenings on the river with the sounds of song, drums, gamelans, trumpets, trombones and kids’ laughter echoing across the water. Red rowboats, rafts and canoes floating down the river, often with a bagpiper or larger-than-life puppet attached. People in costumes and masks running and walking across the bridge. Our community has come alive again. For weeks, we see snippets of the performance in creation. Then the performance weekends are upon us, we're all frantic and excited. I'm cooking food for after the show and then while serving it, I eavesdrop on the audience reacting to what they've just seen. Two weekends and five shows later, it's all over. Us year-round residents start to miss the excitement and the buzz and the people. This Fall, I've been delivering lunch once a week to Gulf Shore School, where many of the young Pageant participants go to school. Almost every day, I see at least one student wearing a River Clyde Pageant t-shirt and my heart swells and I feel so proud of the lasting impact this annual event has had on my community.”
Debi Phipps Stevenson, farmer, Little Victory Microfarms
“The River Clyde Pageant is the highlight of the summer in New Glasgow. It brings our community together in a creative and educational way and provides an opportunity for people of all ages to experience the many layers of performance art. The river bank echoes with laughter and music. A truly joyful experience!”