We are compelled to gather around fires. Ever since the dawn of mankind, people have been gathering wherever they see a fire—it signified community, food, warmth, survival. In the wilderness, a fire was the difference between life and death. But it was also a place where we shared our community, our culture—and shared stories that lit our imaginations.
We are compelled to gather in the dark around these fires. Going to the theatre has become a way for us to sit back in the dark, anonymous, not on stage, but still receive something personal and intimate from the lights and the performance, still feel the community in the flickering stage lights. It’s primal, this gathering—and we will do it in high school gymnasiums, in living rooms, at bonfires, at summer camps, at bars—and yes, when we kindle the desire to create a permanent space for the Arts, we gather there—in those halls, galleries, black boxes, stages and cinemas.
And there, we still look for fire.
We look for something to inspire us. To make us excited. To make us smile. Or cringe, or jump, or dance, or remember, or change. We look for a mirror and we look for a portal and we look to travel there and back again. What happens on a stage transforms us because it’s in our cultural and historical DNA---we are ready to receive story, ready to recognize ourselves, ready to meet new ideas, ready to open our hearts to change, ready to rally in support of a future we couldn’t imagine as perfectly as when someone, lit by fire, tells us about their visions of what could be. Or sings of what they feel. Or dances what they’ve discovered. Or paints what they have dreamed.
The Arts are a bonfire of remembrance and reckoning and resurrection, celebration and community, and by that heat and light we survive. We pass down to the next generation all that is important in our culture when we gather around these fires, wherever they are.
We invite you to celebrate our fireplace. The Yukon Arts Centre was created 20 years ago. Come hear the story again for the first time…first in these blogposts, and then on our special March 23rd 20th Anniversary show.
Come share our fire with us. It was always yours to begin with.
(photo by Tristan Schmurr)