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Gros Morne Summer Music is still growing and changing

['David Maggs, artistic director of Gros Morne Summer Music, addresses the Rotary Club of Corner Brook Thursday.']
['David Maggs, artistic director of Gros Morne Summer Music, addresses the Rotary Club of Corner Brook Thursday.']

A lot has changed for Gros Morne Summer Music over the past 15 years.

During its first year, staff meetings for the inter-arts festival based out of Corner Brook and Woody Point in Gros Morne National Park consisted of artistic director David Maggs and a summer student.

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When Maggs walked into his first staff meeting this season, there were approximately 18 people around the table.

The festival started out more as a classical music festival, but it wasn’t long before that changed. Now it works with musicians, theatre artists, dancers and poets.

Maggs attributes its growth and longevity to pure stubbornness.

Newfoundland, he said, as a place, people and government, has been extremely supportive of the festival.

“Corner Brook and Newfoundland created an opportunity to be experimental in a way that I just had a lot of fun with,” Maggs said.

And 15 years later he’s still experimenting.

A few years ago, the festival started Linimus, a project that had a park-wide aspiration. Maggs said they wanted to do things that were about using the park as a destination for interesting work.

He said the festival is now in the process of doing strategic consulting around integrating Liminus ideas into the festival.

“That’s going to shake up our model I think a fair bit in terms of the things we do in the park.”

July 8, Michael Healey’s “The Drawer Boy” opens at the Rotary Arts Centre in Corner Brook. The show features director Stephen Perchard, and actors Mike Payne, Jordan Stringer and Ian Locke.

Perchard, Payne and Stringer were the driving forces behind the Stage West Theatre Festival which folded last year.

That was a bittersweet moment for Maggs, who was sad to see something go. Yet he was excited by it.

“I knew all those boys would be freed up to start doing some projects together.”

So, he approached them on collaborating to help keep all the talent on stage doing what they love.

Highlighting the talents of local people of all ages has always been a big part of the festival not because he is trying to be charitable to the locals, he said, but because the local offering is that good.

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