THE NORM FOSTER THEATRE FESTIVAL MEDIA RELEASE
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The Foster Festival welcomes the return of Emily Oriold to take the helm as Artistic Producer
(St. Catharines, ON – June 1, 2020) – The Board of Directors of The Norm Foster Theatre Festival is pleased to welcome incoming Artistic Producer Emily Oriold to assist the organization during the effects of COVID-19. Oriold brings a wealth of experience to both the festival and the City of St. Catharines where in 2015 she founded the organization holding the title of Founding Executive Director for four years. The Foster Festival is the very first theatre festival in Canada celebrating the work of a living Canadian playwright, Order of Canada recipient Norm Foster.
Prior to The Foster Festival, Ms. Oriold helped found the audience development company House Seats Canada and worked as its Director of Sales and Marketing for five years. Ms. Oriold is also a professional actor. In March, she was a part of the World Premiere cast of Alison Lawrence’s Too Close To Home at Theatre Orangeville. Sadly, the opening was also the closing like so many Canadian theatres forced to close due to COVID-19.
“I look forward to having Emily guide us through the many challenges everyone in Canadian theatre is facing right now.” said playwright Norm Foster. “She knows us better than anyone. If it were not for Emily, there would be no Foster Festival.” he added.
“Starting a theatre company, I soon learned, takes time,” Foster continued. “You do not just open your doors and find an audience. I was constantly amazed at Emily’s determination and energy. I cannot wait to begin working with her on our 2021 season. It will be the best one yet.” Foster concluded.
“I love living and working in Niagara, collaborating with local artists and building relationships with the many people and businesses that make up the fabric of this community,” said Oriold. “When permissible, it will be a true joy to reconnect with The Foster Festival’s existing patrons and to assist both Norm and the Board. The greatest joy for me is to once again work with my friend and mentor Norm Foster to ensure the organization has both a solid artistic and financial plan moving forward.” Oriold said.
"We are very excited to continue growing the Foster Festival under the leadership of Emily, for whom our Board and our patrons have enormous affection and respect," said Board Chair Glen McCann. "We are proud of the success the Festival has enjoyed in its early years and we fully expect it to continue to flourish. Emily is a key reason for that confidence."
Ms. Oriold will play a critical role in the coming months working alongside Arts Management Consultant, Candice Turner-Smith.
Oriold concluded, “I love standing at the back of the theatre listening to the audience’s uproarious laughter and truly look forward to the time when we can gather again, having our spirits lifted by one of Norm Foster’s magical plays.”
About The Foster Festival
Established in the fall of 2015 The Foster Festival is the only Canadian theatre festival to celebrate the work of a living playwright. Norm Foster is the most produced playwright in Canadian history with over 60 plays receiving an average of 150 productions each year across Canada and internationally. The Festival proudly partners with the City of St. Catharines, The Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre of Niagara, The Niagara Chapter of Native Women, The Niagara Children’s Centre, Rodman Hall and a Local Heroes Initiative which provides complimentary tickets to clients of Bethlehem Housing and Support Services and the Ozanam Centre.
The Foster Festival works to strengthen partnerships, coordinate planning, build on Ontario’s national and international profile and maximize the economic impact of Ontario’s $34 billion tourism industry, supporting the local economy by $2 million in 2019.