The Board of Directors of the Blyth Centre for the Arts has announced the appointment of Peter Smith as Interim Artistic Director of the Blyth Festival. Board President, Wendy Hoernig reported that the theatre had received a large number of very impressive applications. "It speaks very highly of the calibre of theatre talent in our country," she declared. "It also made the final choice extremely difficult. However we feel that we've made the right decision for this interim position. Peter is passionate about our community, our theatre and the importance of telling our stories. We are delighted to have him returning, and are all looking forward to an exciting theatre season next year."
Peter Smith sees the position as a bridge and with his history of collaborative work across the country he will be the ideal person to lead the company through a year of transition, as the organization embarks on a search for the next Artistic Director. Blyth audiences will remember Peter's work in the community with plays such as Many Hands by Dale Hamilton during his previous turn at the helm in the early 1990's. More recently Peter guided the collaborative play Hometown,premiered here in 2011, which brought together six playwrights, one composer and a translator. Peter is an actor, director, producer and writer. "It's an honour and a privilege to be coming back to the Festival and to be working with Deb, the Board and the community at this fabulous theatre company. I look forward to seeing you in the audience in our exciting 2013 season."
Eric Coates, the current Artistic Director, has accepted a position with the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa and will be leaving Blyth at the end of September, after programming the 2013 season. "I have a terrific relationship with Peter and I am delighted to work with him during this transition. He is truly a man of the theatre: a wonderful writer, director, community leader and advocate for our beloved festival."
The Board of Directors will begin a search for the next Artistic Director in late fall. The Blyth Festival is a summer repertory company with a specific interest in new Canadian work that reflects life in rural communities. The company operates in Blyth Memorial Hall, a 450-seat heritage building in the village of Blyth, Ontario, population 1000. The festival's commitment to grassroots work is shared by a core audience that lives within an hour's drive of the village.