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Kings Playhouse executive director exits stage after 8-year run

Haley Zavo at all times dreamed of making a vibrant arts area in her dwelling of Georgetown, P.E.I.

Rising up within the small city, Zavo would carry out on stage at Kings Playhouse, the native theatre and humanities venue.

Her dream got here true in 2015 when she grew to become govt director of the playhouse. Since then, Zavo and her group have organized occasions starting from artwork exhibitions and workshops to tea events and theatre productions. 

“We discovered a solution to construct the Kings Playhouse into a very thriving arts and tradition hub that has a lot happening on a regular basis, for youth and for seniors and for everybody,” Zavo stated.

On the finish of December, Zavo introduced she’d be stepping down after an eight-year run.

Challenges all through the pandemic

There have been many elements concerned in Zavo’s resolution.

She has a younger household and she or he thought it was time for recent management at Kings Playhouse. The challenges the theatre confronted all through the pandemic additionally took their toll.

“I believe in some ways arts organizations had been actually hit exhausting as a result of our entire mission is to collect folks collectively to take pleasure in dwell arts and leisure and tradition,” Zavo stated. 

“And for a very long time we weren’t in a position to do this or we had been solely capable of do it in restricted methods.”

Zavo stated the pandemic pushed the theatre’s workers to seek out artistic methods to have interaction remotely with the group. That included a photograph collection known as Entrance Porch Portraits, the place an area photographer went to folks’s houses to take footage of them from a distance. 

Zavo Kings Playhouse
Quite a few Christmas and vacation productions have been carried out at Kings Playhouse over time. (Submitted by Haley Zavo)

The playhouse additionally ran a phone call program early in the pandemic the place workers would merely name group members to see how they had been doing. 

Catherine O’Brien, creative producer of Younger at Coronary heart Musical Theatre for Seniors, is briefly filling in as govt director. 

O’Brien stated Zavo at all times took on the various challenges the group confronted over time with the group in thoughts, like when she organized a free community Thanksgiving dinner after post-tropical storm Fiona.

“She actually, actually is passionate and caring about her group and the atmosphere round Kings Playhouse, round Georgetown,” O’Brien stated.

Zavo at all times lent a serving to hand when wanted, in keeping with O’Brien. At a current Christmas play placed on on the playhouse, she crammed in when an actor could not make it to a efficiency.

Zavo already had a job within the present enjoying piano, O’Brien stated.

“She performed Santa Claus for a part of this present after which ran … again to the piano in her Santa Claus go well with and continued on. So, that is Haley in a nutshell. Simply saying, ‘OK, what must be carried out? I am going to do it.'” 

Neighborhood hub for generations to come back

Zavo stated she’s pleased with the organizing she’s carried out on the theatre.

That features a collection known as the Legacy Tasks, the place the playhouse workers researched and preserved tales from battle veterans by means of music and theatre.

Submitted by Haley Zavo
Zavo says she hopes Kings Playhouse continues to be an area the place the group can collect and uncover artwork for years to come back. (Submitted by Haley Savo)

In 2021, the venue additionally offered Inuk poet Julie Bull’s first art exhibition. Settle Down, Settlers! opened the day earlier than the primary Nationwide Day for Reality and Reconciliation.

“I am actually pleased with that Reality and Reconciliation work that we have carried out on the playhouse, and that we proceed to do,” Zavo stated.

All Zavo hopes for the way forward for the playhouse is that it continues to be an area the place the group can come collectively and uncover artwork.

Whether or not it was by means of acting on stage, stitching costumes or organising lighting on the theatre, Zavo stated the playhouse at all times gave her pleasure and a way of belonging. She hopes that will even be the case for others in her group.

“It taught me a lot about myself and the way I can contribute to the world and that is what I would like for future generations,” she stated.

Finally, Zavo stated she’s grateful for the help her group has given the theatre over the previous eight years. And although she’s stepping down as govt director, it doesn’t suggest she’s saying goodbye. 

“I have been related to the playhouse my complete life, and so I am certain that I’ll nonetheless be across the place now and again.”

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