August 5, 2022

By Woodrow Kolomvos, Contributing Writer

(Photo: The cast of Louie the Goat Productions.

Fans of classical theatre can rejoice as Brampton’s own Shakespeare show, “Much Ado About Nothing”, is performing at three popular outdoor locations.

Hosted by Performing Arts Brampton and Louie the Goat Productions, William Shakespeare’s comedy, “Much Ado About Nothing”, takes place in the Sicilian city of Messina and follows the story of two romances; one between a young maiden named Hero and a soldier named Claudio, and another between sworn rivals Benedick, friend of Claudio, and Beatrice, cousin of Hero.

As these romances unfold, the Prince’s brother, Don John, conspires to foil it all. With resounding feminist themes laced in with comedy, intrigue, and witful banter, “Much Ado About Nothing” is a timeless story that is perfect for audiences of all ages.

While you are sitting back and enjoying the show, you can also feel good knowing that you are directly supporting an underappreciated sector of the arts in Brampton. Louie the Goat Productions have big plans to empower storytellers across Brampton by producing their own Shakespeare festival. With a mission to “create theatre for Brampton, by Brampton”, the team of enthusiastic and talented raconteurs display the growing need for resilience to preserve the arts in Brampton.

The Summer Shakespeare festival, canceled five years ago due to funding cuts from the city, is one of many that suffered from massive blows to funding as a direct consequence of the closure of the Brampton Arts Council (BAC) back in June 2015. Caused by the city’s restructuring of grants, many already struggling organizations in the arts were forced to find other ways to remain afloat. Without funding, a very much alive and thriving community struggled to find a home to facilitate the passion of Brampton artists. With a further blow done by the COVID-19 pandemic, in October 2021, the city began accepting applications for two community grants, one to support Brampton-based non-profit organizations, and the other to help struggling local artists.

Individual artists could apply for up to $2,000 to help “stabilize, adapt, or rebuild their creative practice in the wake of the pandemic.” However, as small businesses and local artists alike faced growing challenges following the pandemic, it became apparent that a long-term solution to funding the arts was urgently needed from the city.

Looking forward, in May, The Performing Arts Division unveiled what they called their first
ever Performing Arts Strategic Plan. Outlining the city’s goals to preserve the arts from 2022 to 2027, the thirty-one page document revolves around three guiding principles; diversity and inclusion, optimizing multi-purpose facilities, and community building. Working alongside the Economic Recovery Strategy/Action Plan and the City of Brampton 2040 Vision, the vision of the Performing Arts Strategic Plan is to “build an inspiring performing arts community that reflects the spirit and diversity of Brampton”. In terms of funding, the plan lays out a strategy to invest in “streamline marketing, communications and website across all performing art venues”, with the purpose of promoting diversifying revenue models by “increasing overall opportunities for revenue: corporate sales, sponsorships and donor outreach, and grant-based funding”.

Overall, the plan shines a light of hope and resilience for the Brampton arts, leading it out of the dark age that was the COVID-19 pandemic.

With all of this in mind, act while you can as there are only a handful of shows left for “Much Ado About Nothing”. Louie the Goat Productions is accepting pay-what-you-can donations through their GoFundMe campaign. Tickets are available for showings at Chinguacousy Park, Mount Pleasant Square, and Ken Whillans Square.

If you are interested in supporting a local production group while getting the opportunity to view live productions of your favorite plays, you can check out more details for what is coming next from Louie the Goat Productions on their website found here.