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Tune out COVID-19, turn on Arts at Nine

Sudbury Theatre Centre presents new CKLU 96.7 program

Tired of talking about COVID-19? A new radio show on CKLU 96.7 will allow you to escape your bubble.

The Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC) is producing a weekly one-hour radio show called Arts at Nine about the city's arts scene. 

Listeners will be introduced to talented folks such as dancer Denise Vitali, sculptor Tyler Fauvelle, actor Alessandro Costantini, novelist Rosanna Battigelli, artist Ra'aana Brown and playwright Sarah Gartshore.

Arts at Nine will broadcast on CKLU 96.7 at 9 am Thursdays beginning Sept. 30. Eastlink will bring its cameras into the STC studio to record the show to broadcast at a later date. There are also plans to produce an Arts at Nine podcast.

It is not a “what's on,” show, says STC artistic director John McHenry, who is involved in producing and hosting the program with arts volunteer Judi Straughan. The content will not be time-sensitive.

“We were unable to produce live theatre (this fall) for obvious reasons,” says McHenry.

The idea for the radio show was born from the need to do so something to promote the arts.

His idea was a one hour conversation with an artist, something like the BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs.

Straughan, who hosts the Eastlink program Into the Studio and is a friend and colleague of McHenry's, thought his idea sounded boring.

“Judi got involved and it just exploded,” says McHenry. 'The show isn't just about theatre. We have guests from every genre lined up.

“So far, everyone has said yes to our invitation to join us on the air. Artists are longing to be our there as much as we are longing to connect to them.”

The first show will feature former CBC Radio host and novelist Waubgeshig Rice. Musician Matt Foy, who wrote the show's theme song with his six-year-old son Ziggy, will be a guest on the second show.

McHenry and Straughan are both members of the Sudbury Arts Council (SAC). The show is being produced with the support of the arts council, Downtown Sudbury and Eastlink.

Volunteers Maggie LaBlanc from Downtown Sudbury, Allana Wrenshall from the STC and Megan Karchie from SAC are helping put the show together.

The producers are introducing a “shout out” segment. Audience members are asked to send emails regarding their favourite Sudbury artists which will be read on air. Emails can be sent to communications@sudburytheatre.ca.

The first season of Arts at Nine will be 12 shows. Straughan says she is hopeful that if the show is successful and not too much work for volunteers, it will be extended into the new year.

CKLU 96.7 is Laurentian University';s campus and community radio station. Located in studios at the McEwen School of Architecture downtown, it receives funding from students', fees and donations. In addition to its FM radio audience, CKLU 96.7 has broadened its listenership by broadcasting live on cklu.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

In July, the STC announced it was cancelling its 2020-21 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The theatre centre will offer drama and vocal classes for children on Saturdays from Sept. 19. to Nov. 14. Classes will be held in the STC auditorium to allow for appropriate physical distancing.




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